Management Drops Hedley After Sexual Misconduct Claims
The defections from the Hedley camp continued Friday with one of the opening bands on their cross-Canada tour, the band's management team and more radio stations dropping the band after a growing litany of allegations of sexual misconduct involving young fans.
The Junos had also dropped the beseiged band from its upcoming show and WE, the band's chosen charity, said it "no plans to work with Hedley in the future."
Hedley, whose members deny the claims, went ahead with a show in Medicine Hat, Alta., Thursday and were set to play Brandon, Man., on Friday -- but without openers Neon Dreams.
"In light of the allegations surfacing against Hedley, we can no longer in good conscience continue on the 'Cageless' tour," the band said in a statement, just hours before they were due to hit the stage.
"We understand this choice could negatively impact our band professionally but in the end we have to do what we feel is morally right. We would like to thank all the amazing fans that have made the first eight shows on the tour the best experience of our lives."
The other tour opener, Shawn Hook, said in a statement late Thursday that he was "obviously disheartened" by the allegations levelled against Hedley but would continue "to fulfil my contractual obligations."
Watchdog Management and The Feldman Agency issued a one-sentence statement Friday morning, which read: “Given the multiple allegations against Hedley, we have taken the decision to terminate our business relationships with the band, effective immediately.”
The agency indicated it would not be commenting further Friday.
On Thursday, Corus Radio suspended all airplay of Hedley songs across its 30 stations. It said the move was temporary and that it would “continue to closely monitor the situation.” A number of other radio stations also said they were taking the band out of their rotations, including CBC, which said Friday that Hedley would disappear from its radio and streaming platforms "in light of the serious allegations that have surfaced."
The allegations, which have been called “unsubstantiated” by the band’s members, Jacob Hoggard, Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison, have been made on Twitter by anonymous users. The band said in a statement that there "are at least two sides to every story."
Hedley’s members said they have, in the past, “engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock 'n' roll cliches. However, there was always a line that we would never cross."
The statement, which notes the band's members are all now married or in committed relationships, went on to say: "All of us in Hedley respect and applaud the #MeToo movement and the open and honest discussion it has inspired. We believe these conversations are particularly important within the music industry, which does not exactly have an enviable history of treating women with the respect they deserve."
Hoggard rose to fame in 2004 as a charismatic, sexually-charged provocateur on the second season of "Canadian Idol." Although he finished in third place, the Surrey, B.C., native parlayed his screentime into a record deal and Hedley's self-titled debut album the following year went on to go double-platinum.
The band became teen darlings and perennial Juno and MuchMusic Video Awards contenders, with Hoggard developing a reputation for over-the-top red carpet antics, including commandeering reporters' microphones (in one case, sticking the device down his pants).
-With files from The Canadian Press