Despite the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Hedley in the past week and the subsequent fallout, the band has announced that they will not be putting their Canada-wide tour on hold. At the end of last week, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that they were dropping the band’s performance at next month’s Juno Awards in response to the encounters detailed by fans on Twitter under the hashtag #outHedley2k18.
Female fans shared instances when members of the band were inappropriate with women and girls as young as 10 years old at scheduled meet and greets, concert and event after-parties and during chance encounters. There were also more serious accusations including one that allegedly involved an investigation into a possible drugging of an underage concertgoer.
The band released a response Thursday calling the allegations “unsubstantiated” and attributing their past behaviour to “a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock and roll clichés,” while assuring fans “there was always a line that we would never cross” and also voicing their support for the Me Too movement. The statement contains no outright denial of the allegations.
Friday night, Hedley’s management issued their own statement saying that in light of the allegations they have made the decision to terminate their business relationship with the band. The WE charity organization has also cut ties with the group and several Canadian radio stations including CBC have dropped their music.
A few hours later, Hedley’s tour opener, Halifax-based band Neon Dreams, announced they would be leaving the tour. In a Facebook post, they said they understand the negative effect leaving such a public tour will have on their popularity and career trajectory, but they could not in good conscious continue to support Hedley.
Though Hedley has said they will not stop touring, they have pulled their name for consideration in three Juno categories. In a statement they said, “We do not wish to be a distraction at Canadian music’s biggest night or to, in any way, take the focus away from the tremendous honour that is the Juno awards.”
Fans (and former fans) seem to be conflicted. Some are boycotting the performances, others are attending because refunds are not readily available and still others are standing in support of the band. Fans in some cities are petitioning for venues to offer refunds to fans who don’t want to see or support Hedley anymore. One Toronto-area ex-fan has offered free cover-ups of Hedley tattoos.
PLEASE CONTACT ME if you are in the toronto area and need a Hedley-related Tattoo covered. I will be trying to provide as much free cover up work for any of you who need me. You may DM me here, or call for a consultation at 6473782481. #outhedley2k18 #hedley
— Lizzie Renaud (@LZA) February 15, 2018
The will be touring until March 23 and they have said they intend “to start making positive changes, starting right now.”