Dozens of women took to Twitter this week to tell stories of sexual misconduct at the hands of members of Hedley under the hashtag #outHedley2k18. The posts allege that the band has been “vulgar and handsy” with backup dancers and inappropriate with fans as young as 10 years old. There are also several mentions of an alleged incident that happened at the Embassy Hotel in London, ON in the early 2000s that may have involved an assault. While all of these accounts are unverified, there seems to be a general understanding that this behaviour has been going on for nearly a decade and they have shed an unsavoury light on the band.
In response, the Juno Awards announced Wednesday that after conferring with the band and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, they have made the decision to cancel the band’s scheduled performance at the awards show on March 25.
After careful consideration of the situation and in discussions with the band, CARAS and Hedley have decided that the band will not be performing at the 2018 JUNO Awards.
— The JUNO Awards (@TheJUNOAwards) February 14, 2018
Shortly before the Juno announcement went out, the band published their own response to the allegations on Facebook. They expressed their support for the #MeToo movement and admitted it started a necessary discussion in the music industry which “does not exactly have an enviable history of treating women with the respect they deserve.”
They went on to say the Twitter allegations are “simply unsubstantiated and have not been validated” and ask their fans to “bear-in-mind the context in which these unsupported accusations have been made before passing judgment on us as individuals or as a band.” They added a bit more of the aforementioned context by admitting to adhering to certain “rock and roll clichés” in the past.
“We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one,” they write, “While we are all now either married or have entered into committed, long-term relationships, there was a time, in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock and roll clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”
The CARAS has said that they are closely monitoring the situation though it is unclear what work is being done to verify the claims made on Twitter.
To add another layer to the controversy, Narcity noted that former Hedley drummer Chris Crippin, who left suddenly last year after 11 years with the band, simply posted a picture of Kermit the Frog sipping tea in the midst of the #outHedley2k18 storm.
— Chris Crippin (@chriscrippin) February 13, 2018