At least three Canadian radio stations have pulled Hedley from their playlists after a barrage of sexual misconduct allegations against the band surfaced on social media this week.
The firestorm of accusations prompted the group to post a statement on Facebook, dismissing the claims from young fans as “unsubstantiated.” But the allegations prompted the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to drop the band from the Junos awards ceremony.
Edmonton-based Hot 107 is one of the stations which has temporarily stopped airing Hedley’s music.
“It’s a band of talented musicians but there’s simply too many stories from underage fans who claim they were victims of misconduct,” said Chris Myers, the station’s program director.
“Thinking back to early encounters with Hedley, I may have written off unruly behaviour that I saw first-hand as juvenile and had hoped they had perhaps grown up. It’s really hard to turn a blind eye this time around.”
He added that Hedley was on its airwaves “every couple of hours” before allegations of harassment and inappropriate touching began to surface.
Many accusations can be found on the #outhedley2k18 hashtag on Twitter.
Organizers of the annual music show say it was a joint decision with Hedley “after careful consideration of the situation.”
The pop-rockers — fronted by Jacob Hoggard and including Tommy Mac, Dave Rosin and Jay Benison — are up for three Junos this year including fan choice, group of the year and pop album of the year.
“We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one,” the band said in a statement 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 clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”
Other radio stations have removed Hedley from their rotations.
“We’re aware of the accusations and have dropped Hedley songs at this point,” said B.C.-based Kiss Radio via Twitter on Tuesday. “We’ll keep it that way until more information is released.”
Virgin Radio Vancouver said on Twitter it’s removing the band from its playlists, too, stating that it will “continue to monitor the situation.”
The band, in its social media statement, 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,” said 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.”
Kathy Brewer, who commented on the group’s statement posted on Facebook, said that she doesn’t believe the accusations.
“The truth will come out,” she wrote, “and the people who started this horrendous rumour should have to pay for it dearly.”
The group is currently on tour and was set to perform in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Wednesday evening. The tour takes them to Ontario next month, starting with Brampton’s Powerade Centre on March 1.
With files from The Canadian Press