There have been serious sexual allegations against the Canadian rock group Hedley over the past week. Albeit on Twitter of all places, many have come forward with their stories of unsolicited sexual encounters with various members of the group. Many of them under the age of 18. Yesterday, Hedley withdrew their Juno nominations and provided the following statement.
“In the coming days – and throughout this current tour – we intend to take responsibility, and talk about how we have let some people down, and what we intend to do about it.
That starts right now. As a band, we have decided to withdraw our name from consideration for any awards at the JUNOs. We do not wish to be a distraction at Canadian music’s biggest night or to, in any way, take the focus away from the tremendous honour that is the JUNO awards.
We want to ensure that everyone understands our collective commitment to change, and to do better, is real. Saying a rock’n’roll lifestyle was to blame – or saying certain things happened because we were younger – isn’t good enough. We owe it to our families, our crew, our friends – and most of all, our fans – to do and be better.
The easy thing to do would be to cancel the tour and hide. We don’t intend to do that. We intend to start making positive changes, starting right now.” – Source: Hedley
The Twitter Files of Allegations
Being a huge Hedley Fan and a person who has photographed them numerous times, I spent a lot of my weekend reading the Twitter case files. Initially, I engaged but realized very quickly that the conversation was a shit storm of anonymous and fake accounts where I couldn’t make heads or tails of truth or fiction. I deleted all of my interactions and just remained a Twitter lurker, as mundane and lame as that sounds on a Family Day long weekend.
What really hooked me in was the Exclaim article and questioning what a previous GM had to gain or lose by bringing these allegations to light. I asked a lot of questions but received no solid answers. Then, I saw a tweet from someone who worked there and claimed that no employee was told to silence themselves about the alleged incident. It came to a point where I blatantly asked myself, “Who the fuck do you believe any more?”
The truth about Twitter is that people can have more than one account. You have 10 emails? You can have 10 accounts. You can make false allegations and truthful allegations, but none of it matters behind the shield of a fake name. Are you believable? One minute you may be, but one false word or misinterpretation by another person can throw your whole case out of the window. This is why at this point, they are simply allegations. Until someone comes forward with a face and a name, as much as I’d like to support those who were allegedly victimized, I’m left feeling dubious on what to believe.
Case and point, there is a girl who is very outspoken on behalf of the victims in these Hedley sexual allegations. At first, I was talking to her and she really appeared to be sound in mind. But as the days progressed, she would block and unblock people (including myself) even if a question was addressed. I simply blocked her in the end as her actions were simply rubbish and I resided that she could be batshit crazy.
Once the PR company for Hedley released their statement to Canadian Newswire yesterday, she proceeded to thrash the PR company and her husband for not supporting the #MeToo movement. Basically saying they are hypocrites.
At that point, out of nowhere, someone popped up and accused her of being a serial cyberbully, included several backlinks, and also accused her of creating and scamming the public to raise funds for a fallen soldier’s family. She has several accounts and has been stalking this person for a long time. Ok, several accounts huh? The plot thickens and gets REALLY murky once again.
I do believe, after seeing the things I have saw over the weekend, that one person (who is meticulous with social media and manipulation) can single-handedly discredit anyone. Nuts I know!! But you have to see it to even think it.
The Show Musts Go On
Hedley made their first appearance in Ontario last night to a packed audience in Barrie. Tonight, they play Ottawa determined to complete the course of their tour. They are determined that the show must go on. I don’t know if they are allowing media into their venues for photography. I know that when they announced the tour, I was so excited. If I was given the option to shoot Bruno Mars from the soundboard or Hedley from the stage? Anyone who is familiar with me knows my choice.
It has always been Hedley because I truly loved how they inspired the younger generation with their positive words, their work with We Day, and their status in Canadian rock. At this point, I’m going to let it all play out. Regarding the #CagelessTour though, I may not even be a taken into consideration as media being a small blog in small-town Ontario. So be it. I accept that they need media with numbers right now if they choose to go this route.
As an outsider looking in, Twitter (and the fake accounts) has made it very difficult to see through the murky waters of truth and fiction of the Hedley allegations. I highly encourage those who have been allegedly victimized to go beyond Twitter or any other social media platform. There are plenty of news media following the #OutHedley2K18 hashtag and reaching out to you daily. I know it’s hard to put your face and your name to these allegations, but it speaks volumes and will aid others who have been victimized in this way to speak up quicker as well.
I fear for the state of our society where social justice mobs, anonymous proclamations, and reckless justice is allowed to continue without due process. I won’t stand by and ruin someone’s life or reputation based on what I’m seeing at this point and time on Twitter. As I said, I’m not judge, jury or God. If I’m wrong with my indecision, I’ll eat it either way it goes.