This week one of the biggest stories in music has been those of sexual misconduct allegations made against Canadian band Hedley. In the wake of these allegations their upcoming performance at the JUNOs was cancelled, they were dropped by their management company and Neon Dreams has decided not to continue as their opening act on the Cageless tour. Shawn Hook has decided to fulfill his contractual obligations and I understand this was a difficult decision to make, no artist wants to disappoint their fans.
Many people may think that this #MeToo movement is getting out of hand; I’ve seen people say that these are “young girls out to ruin lives”. While I am usually someone who believes in “innocent until proven guilty”, the evidence has been overwhelming. No story of sexual harassment should be taken lightly, especially when it is a story that involves young, vulnerable, girls. There is even an investigation being conducted into a young girl who was drugged at a Hedley show.
If you are a girl or woman and you experience sexual assault or sexual harassment do not wait to report it. Proof does not last forever.
As a victim and a broadcaster this has been a tough week but I am incredibly proud of the stations around the country that have decided to pull Hedley from their library; including my own.
Hedley has released their own statement which reads as follows:
“All of us in Hedley respect and applaud the #MeToo movement and the open and honest discussion it has inspired. We believe these conversations are particularly 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.
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.
We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one. 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 and roll clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.
We realize this conversation is as important to our fans as it is to us, and we never want to distract from these important discussions. To that end, as we move forward, we will be evaluating some of our next steps. Hedley’s music should only ever be a positive force, and our performances and personal appearances should continue to be inclusive and safe experiences that bring nothing but joy and happiness to our fans.”
To all of the young women who have spoken up, I applaud and admire your bravery.
And to all of you who have been victims, you are not alone.
And to those of you who may become victims in the future, it is not your fault.
Keep fighting back.