Fans of the Canadian pop-rock band Hedley are deciding if they should request refunds for their concert tickets in wake of the group’s recent sexual assault allegations, and have differing opinions on whether or not a musician’s music and personal life coincide.
Lead singer Jacob Hoggard has been accused of sexual assault on two separate occasions. A 24-year-old woman reported to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that she was sexually assaulted by Hoggard after the pair talked on the dating app Tinder and decided to meet up at a hotel. According to ET Canada, Hoggard’s lawyer Brian Shiller claims that the sexual interactions between the woman and the singer were consensual. Additionally, a radio host in Calgary, Katie Summers, came forward with an allegation that Hoggard committed sexual misconduct after an interview, and thus, Hedley has been blacklisted from the station, as well as CBC.
The band has since been dropped by their management team, lost a few of their opening bands for shows, had performances cancelled by certain venues, and fans have requested refunds for their tickets. One fan even started a petition, urging that the Canadian venue offer refunds to the performance in light of the accusations. Additionally, Kara Weiler, a Kitchener resident, made a call to the City of Kitchener and asked the concert to be cancelled. In a letter sent to Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, city councillor Sarah Marsh and CBC News, Weiler wrote, “Knowing this band is still on tour and many cities, including my own, are refusing to take action is disgusting.”
However, some fans have stuck by the band, arguing that Hoggard should be innocent until proven guilty. Israel Sitzer, a resident from Scarborough, Ontario, said that she will be in full support of Hedley, claiming that every rocker has objectified women during their career. She stated that “Until something comes out that says he did it or he’s guilty of it, I’m going to support him.”
Although concert-goers may not be in favor of the recent news and allegations, some just aren’t willing to give up their tickets. Another fan who did not disclose her last name, named Audrey, was debating whether or not she should go to the show. Eventually, she decided that since she already bought tickets, she might as well go and enjoy a night of music.
“Maybe I wouldn’t have bought the tickets if I knew about the accusations,” Audrey said.
Last Friday Hoggard took to Twitter, claiming that he did not sexually harass anyone, and is devastated over the allegations. The band also tweeted that they will continue to see this tour through, but after the last show, will be taking an “indefinite hiatus to work on personal relationships and who we are as individuals.”
Hedley will continue their tour through March 23, wrapping up the final show – for now – in Kelowna, British Columbia.