Hedley says sexual misconduct claims are ‘unsubstantiated’

TORONTO — The Junos have dropped Hedley from the televised awards bash as the rockers face allegations of sexual misconduct that they call “unsubstantiated.”

Organizers of the annual music show say it was a joint decision with Hedley “after careful consideration of the situation.”

The move by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences came as band members issued a statement addressing claims of impropriety involving young fans.

“We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one,” reads the statement, which was issued mid-afternoon Wednesday, minutes before the Junos announcement.

“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 ‘n’ roll cliches. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”

The statement followed a flurry of claims on Twitter from anonymous users who alleged inappropriate encounters with the band. Some social media users called on the Juno Awards to drop Hedley as a performer at the upcoming show.

The pop-rockers — fronted by Jacob Hoggard and including Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — are up for three Junos this year including fan choice, group of the year and pop album of the year.

The band said they “respect and applaud the #MeToo movement” and say it is especially important within the music industry, “which does not exactly have an enviable history of treating women with the respect they deserve.”

“We appreciate the bravery of those who have come forward with their own stories, and we realize that all of us, as individuals and as a society, can and must do better when it comes to this issue,” says the statement.

“However, if we are to have a meaningful, open and honest discussion, we all have to accept and respect that there are at least two sides to every story. The recent allegations against us posted on social media are simply unsubstantiated and have not been validated. We would hope that people will bear-in-mind the context in which these unsupported accusations have been made before passing judgment on us as individuals or as a band.”

The group is currently on tour and was set to perform in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Wednesday evening. They were scheduled to perform in Moose Jaw, Sask., and Brandon, Man., later in the week.

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