Editor’s Note: For our most recent Hedley coverage, read our feature The Cult Of Hedley: Why Jacob Hoggard’s Diehard Fans Are Sticking By Him No Matter What.
Hours after Hedley’s lead singer, Jacob Hoggard, posted an apology of sorts on Twitter (following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him and fellow members of the B.C. pop-rock band), the group honoured their musical commitments and played a nearly packed show in Brampton, Ont., on Thursday. It was Hedley’s first appearance since Hoggard — who has now been accused of rape — announced that the band would wrap their current tour dates before going on an indefinite hiatus. But based on one reporter’s experience at the concert, it sounds like Hoggard ain’t sorry for much.
Hedley returns with no apologies and sexually-charged banter in first concert since announcing an “indefinite hiatus” after recent sexual misconduct allegations.
— David Friend (@dfriend) March 2, 2018
According to David Friend, a pop culture reporter for The Canadian Press, Hoggard didn’t acknowledge his recent apology, in which he admitted to having treated women poorly in the past (but denied ever engaging in non-consensual sex). Instead, it was business as usual for Hoggard, who “refused to soften his band’s frat boy persona” in front of the audience. “Hoggard paused for a moment to thank fans for their unwavering support but spent more time playing into the band’s trademark antics with thinly veiled sexual innuendoes,” reports Friend.
During the concert, Hoggard asked fans to hold hands with the friend next to them and profess their interest in having the other person serve them “breakfast.” Hoggard then said: “Because, baby, you’re my most important meal of the day,” seemingly implying “breakfast” meant oral sex.
Another instance of inappropriate commentary happened during a break in the band’s set, when Hoggard caught a woman near the front of the stage texting on her phone. Hoggard reportedly “jokingly confiscated her phone and rifled through the contacts, stopping briefly on one labelled ‘Dad.'”
“Who’s dad?” Hoggard asked. “Dad? Is that what you call him?”
Hoggard then proceeded to ask whether the woman’s dad was in the audience, saying: “He’s here? Of, course he’s here.” The singer then scrolled through the fan’s phone before deciding to call her aunt in front of everyone.
Another random piece of colour that didn’t make the cut – – there was a t-shirt gun.
Jacob fired one shirt that narrowly missed my head. I was typing on my phone, my fault. Total accident on his part (he wouldn’t have been able to see me from that distance anyway). pic.twitter.com/hM9VHh42dO
— David Friend (@dfriend) March 2, 2018
Hoggard has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women after stories began surfacing on social media in February. One woman — who started the Twitter crusade that shared anonymous stories using the hashtag #outHedley2k18 — recently revealed her identity, and alleges that Hoggard grabbed her butt outside a bar in 2015. On Feb. 25, an Ottawa woman told the CBC that Hoggard raped her at a hotel in Toronto in 2016 (a claim Hoggard denies). Since the reports, Hedley’s management dropped them, radio stations have banned their music, and the band withdrew from consideration for the Juno Awards. Hoggard has not directly responded to all these allegations, and they have not yet been proven in a court of law.The Cult Of Hedley: Why Jacob Hoggard’s Diehard Female Fans Are Sticking By Him No Matter What
The mounting allegations don’t seem to bother fans, who continue to support the band and are still paying to see them on tour. “I think you’re innocent until proven guilty,” one fan told Friend outside the Brampton show on Thursday.
“So I hold onto that because I know what it’s like to be accused of something you didn’t do. Especially when [Hoggard says in his apology], ‘Oh, I’ve objectified women’ … every rocker has, on a more real note. Until something comes out that says he did it or he’s guilty of it, I’m going to support him.”
At the end of the concert, according to Friend’s report, Hoggard seemed to “subtly acknowledge the worsening storm of recent weeks” by thanking fans for “believing and standing behind [them].”
“Sometimes life sucks,” the singer said.
But despite saying the band would stop playing music together after this tour, Hoggard promised fans it wouldn’t be the last time the group would visit Brampton, suggesting their hiatus could be temporary.
“If you didn’t show up here we couldn’t play here. You’re the reason we fight, the reason we sing,” Hoggard said.