Fans stand by Hedley as tour goes on amid sexual misconduct allegations
At Friday’s Halifax concert, many fans said they were more focused on enjoying the show than worrying about the allegations that have plagued the band.
Canadian pop-rock group Hedley have been under the crosshairs this whole month. In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the bandmates that had been circulated by anonymous social media users earlier this month, the band has been dropped by their management team, tour openers and dozens of radio stations. Last week, Hedley even withdrew their nomination from the prestigious Juno awards.
But there seems to be a silver lining in Hedley’s stormy cloud — their fans. Fans of the band screamed until they were out of breath during Hedley’s lively performance at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre on Friday, reports The Toronto Star.
While frontman Jacob Hoggard thanked Hedley fans from the bottom of his heart for being the people the band could always rely on, he did not directly address the anonymous allegations of inappropriate behavior involving young fans that have emerged on social media in recent weeks.
“To everybody ... who has stood behind us all of these years — through the ups and the downs, through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad — Halifax, we could never, ever imagine doing this without you,” Hoggard told the crowd over the interludes.
“Because sometimes life sucks, and that’s why we’ve got you. And, Halifax, sometimes life sucks, but that’s why you’ve got us ... Stay in our lives, and I promise we’ll stay in yours.”
As fans filed into the Halifax auditorium on Friday, many concert-goers said they were more focused on enjoying the show than litigating the allegations against Hedley, which some said had little bearing on their feelings towards the band.
Several fans said they had not investigated the claims themselves or did not believe it was their place to cast judgment. “The band is probably suffering, but until there’s more about it, everything’s pretty vague,” said Kristen MacIntosh, who drove from Cape Breton to see the show with her eight-year-old son after buying him a ticket as a Christmas present, reports The Star.
Some fans expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of the claims, questioning why anonymous social media users would bring up years-old allegations online rather than going to authorities.
According to the report by The Star, Madisson Muise, a 16-year-old who came to Halifax from Yarmouth, N.S., to attend her first concert, said she was relieved she could still see her favorite band perform after fearing the tour would be canceled. “Their fans are really supporting them and sticking together,” said Muise.
Toronto-based pop band Liteyears filled in as Hedley’s opening act after singer Shawn Hook and Halifax’s own, Neon Dreams, ditched the tour.
Meanwhile, Charlottetown-based singer-songwriter Kinley Dowling, who is known as the violinist in Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta!, said on Instagram that she and four friends protested outside the Hedley concert in Summerside, P.E.I., on Saturday (February 24) night.
*somehow this was deleted but it is back!* Last evening I drove with 4 friends to Summerside to the @hedleyonline show. We were not going to see the show. We were there to protest them performing. We were also there to give out resources for victims of sexual assault. We gave out over 100 pamphlets that covered: when a sexual assault occurs; how to report to police, seeking medical attention, and how to support someone who has been sexually assaulted (a guide for friends and family). When I read about the recent allegations of Hedley it made me so angry that they would abuse their power like that. Assaulting their fans as young as 14 years old. Apparently a lot of people knew this was going on but no one did anything about it. I don't want this to be the new normal. I didn't know what to do but I knew I couldn't just sit around. I saw a tweet from a gal on Twitter who was organizing a group of people to go outside the venue of a Hedley show in B.C. and hand out resources for victims of sexual assault. I thought this was a perfect idea. I'm so proud of the 5 of us for going to Summerside last night. We only got some 'lip' from a few fans, but we just hope they have an open mind in the future. It's not an easy thing for a survivor to tell their story. Let's not make it any harder for them just because you like the band's music. #OutHedley2k18 #Timesup #MeToo #PEI (Thanks to @cupevents for making sure we had a safe place to voice our views :) @peiguardian @journalpei @brianneamira @hedleyonline #PEI 📸 BY: @dylan_menzie
“We only got some ‘lip’ from a few fans, but we just hope they have an open mind in the future,” Dowling wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s not an easy thing for a survivor to tell their story. Let’s not make it any harder for them just because you like the band’s music.”
The band’s performances in Atlantic Canada were met with mixed reactions on social media. Some diehard Hedley fans cheered on the band from afar, while other Twitter users expressed discomfort with the cloud of controversy following the musicians.
If anyone has meet and greet for Hedley in Halifax and doesn't want it anymore I can take it off your hands 👍gotta give these guys a big hug #IStandWithHedley— Shayla (@shaayla) February 17, 2018
Taken out of context. Not how it happened at all. They were VERY appreciative of all the support. It was a packed house for Hedley tonight in Halifax. #Istandwithhedley— Kim Peters (@Kimikins78) February 24, 2018
There are many empty seats as the show starts. Fans cheer as Liteyears take the stage in all white. They are replacing openers Shawn Hook and Halifax-based Neon Dreams, who left the tour in the wake of the allegations. #Hedley
— Adina Bresge (@abresge) February 23, 2018
Hedley in Halifax was incredible&unforgettable! Now PEI for their next concert, got tickets last night, we just couldn't pass it up!! Fan since the very beginning and will always be! #IStandWithHedley ❤️. @TommyMac1 @JacobHoggard @daverosin #JayBeni— April Robichaud (@robichaud_april) February 24, 2018
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