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'I stand with them:' Embattled band Hedley plays last show before hiatus

Last Updated Mar 23, 2018 at 10:33 pm EDT

Hedley fan's Charene Gonschorek, left, and Brandon Krys show their support for the band before the final concert of their current tour in Kelowna, B.C., on March 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

Fans of embattled Vancouver pop-rockers Hedley were handing out flyers in support of the band ahead of what could be their last concert, in Kelowna, B.C.

The group announced they’d be going on an “indefinite hiatus” earlier this month under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations against frontman Jacob Hoggard.

Hoggard has denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual behaviour, but he admits he has behaved in a way that objectifies women.

The the group has been dropped by its management team, blacklisted by scores of radio stations and abandoned by musicians booked as tour openers.

Laura Carruthers photocopied 3,000 flyers asking people to sign a petition urging radio stations to reinstate airplay for the band.

She was in the parking lot outside Kelowna’s Prospera Place ahead of the concert handing out the pages, which have the phrase #istandforhedley written on them with hearts drawn in red glitter.

“I’ll always be standing by them. Because it’s allegations, it’s not actually a charge yet,” Carruthers said.

Valerie Rivet, who travelled from Ottawa to see her favourite band for the 33rd time, said the accusations against Hoggard haven’t been proven, and if they ever are, she would re-evaluate her love of the band.

“Twitter is not a court of law,” she said. “For now I stand with them.”

Toronto police have said they are investigating Hoggard, but no charges have been laid.

Online accusations began surfacing last month suggesting inappropriate encounters with young fans.

A 24-year-old Ottawa fan of the band alleged to the CBC in February 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.

The CBC published another report weeks later of a Toronto woman who alleges Hoggard tried to force her to do things without her consent during a sexual encounter in 2016.

A Calgary radio host has also alleged that Hoggard groped her and made lewd remarks to her seven years ago.

In announcing he would be putting his career on hold, Hoggard said he would make real changes in his life, seeking guidance from his family and learning from the “amazing women in my life.”

“The way I’ve treated women was reckless and dismissive of their feelings. 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,” he wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account Feb. 28.

“I have been careless and indifferent and I have no excuse. For this I am truly sorry.”

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