BRAMPTON, Ont. — Embattled rockers Hedley will return to the stage tonight for the first in a final string of concerts before going on an “indefinite hiatus” so the band’s members can “take a long hard look in the mirror.”
The two-time Juno winners and former MuchMusic darlings released a joint statement late Wednesday in the wake of unrelenting pressure stemming from sexual misconduct allegations involving young fans.
The group’s members said they were “truly sorry, as individuals and as a band, to anyone who has been negatively affected by our behaviour” and added they decided to continue on with their 15 scheduled concerts for the sake of their crew and others who “depend on this tour for their livelihood.”
Band leader Jacob Hoggard also released his own statement saying he has “never engaged in non-consensual sexual behaviour,” but acknowledged he “behaved in a way that objectified women” and was “reckless and dismissive of their feelings.”
A 24-year-old Ottawa fan of the band alleged to the CBC that she was sexually assaulted by Hoggard after chatting with him on the dating app Tinder and agreeing to meet him at a hotel in Toronto. Hoggard’s lawyer Brian Shiller said in a statement that the woman and the Hedley frontman had “made a mutual plan to get together to have sex and they did just that.”
The band is set to play in this city northwest of Toronto tonight and the last show on the tour is scheduled for March 23 in Kelowna, B.C. A March 11 performance at Windsor, Ont., was cancelled by the venue, Caesars Windsor, on Tuesday.
The group — which also includes members Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — has been under fire since sexual misconduct allegations began surfacing online two weeks ago, mostly posted by anonymous social media users.
The band was subsequently dropped by its management team, blacklisted by scores of radio stations, and abandoned by musicians booked as tour openers.
Hedley also withdrew from consideration for three Juno Awards after initially backing out as a performing act for the telecast.
Hedley had been a mainstay at the Junos, racking up 31 nominations dating back to 2006. Hoggard — who rose to fame in 2004 as a charismatic, sexually charged provocateur on the second season of the smash hit “Canadian Idol” — even hosted the awards show in 2015.
“I understand the significant harm that is caused not only to the women I interacted with, but to all women who are degraded by this type of behaviour,” Hoggard said in his statement.
“I have been careless and indifferent and I have no excuse. For this I am truly sorry.”