If you’ve been keeping up with the Hedley front-man’s fall from grace, you probably already know that Jacob Hoggard has been at the center of a range of accusations surrounding his treatment — and possible assault — of various unnamed women. Monday evening, the singer was arrested by Toronto police and charged with sexual interference (for those unversed in the Criminal Code, that’s sexually touching a minor) and two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm on three occasions involving two different women. In the news release, police say they are concerned there may be other victims.
They also took the unusual further step of releasing Hoggard’s mug shot.
The controversy surrounding Hoggard and Hedley’s conduct began in February of this year when multiple fans, former backup dancers and other women came out on Twitter to trend the hashtag #OutHedley2K18 as part of a Me Too moment. These women came forward with stories about the band (with a focus on Hoggard) making inappropriate comments and groping fans at meet-and-greets and making unreciprocated advances at concert after-parties. Some of the stories involved fans as young as 10 years old.
In response to the stories, Hedley’s management dropped the band and the Juno Awards cancelled their performance at the ceremony. The band issued a statement saying they lived according to certain “rock and roll cliches” in the past, but that there was “a line we would never cross.” To prove just how innocent they were, they refused to cancel any of their tour dates.
Two weeks after the Twitter scandal, CBC published the story of a 24-year-old Ottawa woman who alleged that Hoggart raped her in a Toronto hotel room in 2016. She said she had drawn courage from the Twitter movement and chose to come forward.
At the time, Hoggard made a public statement admitting to treating women with less respect than they deserve in his past, but asserting, “I have never engaged in non-consensual sexual behaviour in my life. Ever.” He also said that he would be stepping away from his career indefinitely to “make real changes” in his life and “grow and learn from the amazing women in [his] life.”
— Jacob Hoggard (@JacobHoggard) March 1, 2018
A week later, the singer tweeted again, this time getting ahead of another CBC story about an incident in 2013 where a Toronto woman accused Hoggard of “ignoring her ground rules during sex.” Hoggard admitted to having a sexual relationship with the woman in question, but assured the public that it was consensual. He said, “It is not within my capacity as a person to force anyone beyond their boundaries.” It is not clear if either of these women are the ones cited in the charges brought down on Monday.
— Jacob Hoggard (@JacobHoggard) March 3, 2018
In light of Hoggart’s arrest, many women have been celebrating real legal action in a public case of sexual assault involving a celebrity.
Good! Put him away.
— RyGuy (@darthgenius75) July 24, 2018
He played a show at my friend’s college, and reportedly went back to the residence and was messing around with underage girls. This has clearly been going on for awhile and there is no way his band mates and management didn’t know. Pathetic. She’s brave for coming forward.
— Lo in T.O (@Lo_in_TO) July 24, 2018
medical reports from less than a week later, it’s kinda damning for him. I met him once. He groped me & my friend and made some seriously sexually explicit comments infront of the other band members. They’re rock stars so we’re supposed to be flattered, right? #MeToo
— Lolo Avalon (@lolo_avalon) July 24, 2018
Jacob hoggard literally turned himself into the police and people are still arguing that “women are liars for fame” or “its their fault for being around him”. I can’t believe I supported this person for over 10 years I’m at a loss for words
— Kiersten 💛 (@HausOfKiersten) July 24, 2018
sexual interference… SEXUAL INTERFERENCE?!! that means jacob hoggard touched someone under 16 years old oh my god oh my gooooooooooooooodddd thats disgusting im glad the radio stopped playing their music. hedley’s cancelled forever.
— I’m So Sick – Apink.mp3 (@seulrire) July 23, 2018
For all positive reactions, there were still some fans opposing the charges, questioning the women’s credibility and defending the singer.
She wants money…. right ? Lol
— Angie Christine (@angie_mcgee) July 24, 2018
@JacobHoggard ❤. We are still here for you. You got this we love you! ❤❤🍕
— J (@juanitachamp) July 23, 2018
— britt⚓ (@_bbandabby) July 24, 2018
Hoggard’s lawyer has refused to comment on his defense and the singer is due in court Thursday.