Sexual misconduct allegations swirling around Canadian pop band Hedley didn’t prevent many Manitoba fans from heading to see the band perform live at Brandon’s Keystone Centre on Friday night.
The allegations against the Juno award-winning band — comprising Jacob Hoggard, Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — gained mainstream attention earlier this week. A flurry of claims were made by anonymous users on Twitter who alleged inappropriate encounters with the band, which the band has called “unsubstantiated.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Many radio stations, including CBC, have stopped playing the band’s music since the allegations surfaced. On Wednesday, the Juno awards cancelled the band’s scheduled performance.
On Friday, the band’s management team, Watchdog Management and the Feldman Agency, announced their business relationships with the band was terminated effective immediately.
Carla Mortensen from Brandon ultimately decided she would still attend the Brandon concert with her niece — who is a young adult — as planned.
“One of the main things is that I do believe in the process of law, that you should be innocent until proven guilty,” Mortensen said in an interview on CBC Manitoba’s Up To Speed. “But I soul searched because there isn’t a really good mechanism for items such as this to go through that process.”
She said the allegations speak to the issue of how society deals with accusations of sexual misconduct in general.
“The pendulum against the victims was stuck for a really long time and now it’s been released and it’s swung, and maybe it’s swung too far. I don’t know,” she said.
“And this is what I’m really struggling with, is that has it gone too far where everybody is convicted the moment there’s an accusation? And we have to wait for the pendulum to come back and sort of give everybody due process.”
‘Innocent until proven guilty’
CBC News spoke to several fans outside the Keystone Centre in Brandon as they made their way to the concert.
Charlotte Grant said she and her daughter discussed the allegations after they came up on the news during the roughly half-hour drive to Brandon from their home in Souris, Man.
“We talked about that it was just allegations so far and they are innocent until proven guilty and … we’re not going to make judgment until then,” she said.
She said they’ll have another discussion if the allegations are proven.
“I think that it’s important for [my daughter] to know what is right and what is wrong, what her morals are, what good morals are and what bad morals are,” she said.
Sandra Thompson and her daughter Kaie, 16, echoed that sentiment.
“Honestly, I just believe that they’re people saying what they want to say and we don’t know if it’s actually true or not. So until that’s true it doesn’t really affect me that much,” Kaie said.
“We try not to jump to conclusions when we hear rumours so we’re just going to have fun and enjoy the concert,” her mom said.
“I’m here with my daughter so I’m not too worried for her safety or things like that, but I just try to teach her right and hopefully things like this won’t affect her.”
Justin Nernberg drove roughly two hours to Brandon from Russell, Man., to see the concert. He said he doesn’t believe the allegations are true.
“I think it’s people just trying to get their moment of fame,” he said. “Lot of that going around lately.”
He said he wasn’t sure what it would take for him to stop supporting the band.
“I don’t know. Nothing, really. They got good music, good attitude,” he said.
Another fan, Matt Pentecost, said he’s seen Hedley live four times and has attended every concert they’ve played in Brandon.
“I like that they’re kind of an older band but they’re popular for all ages. … They seem down to earth, I guess. Saw them at the outdoor concert that Brandon held in January couple years back and they seemed like a good group of guys,” he said.
He said he’d like to see concrete evidence of the allegations before withdrawing his support for Hedley.
“I’ll be honest, I feel sorry for them. That’s the rock lifestyle, right? It was the same back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones. I mean, now with social media, it’s just, everything’s made more aware of that kind of stuff,” he said.
“At the end of the day, they’re allegations, right? Nothing’s been proven. And I mean, I wouldn’t like people thinking that of me without rock-hard proof. I mean, I don’t know.
“It’s a hard topic, right?”
Band responds on Facebook
In a Facebook post from Wednesday, the band wrote members “respect and applaud” the #MeToo movement, and said those conversations are especially important in the music industry. The post called said the allegations are “simply unsubstantiated and have not been validated.”
“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,” the post reads.
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Edmonton Alberta News Headlines
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Edmonton /ˈɛdməntən/ (About this sound listen) is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta’s central region. The city anchors the north end of what Statistics Canada defines as the “Calgary–Edmonton Corridor”.
The city had a population of 932,546 in 2016, making it Alberta’s second-largest city and Canada’s fifth-largest municipality. Also in 2016, Edmonton had a metropolitan population of 1,321,426, making it the sixth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada. Edmonton is North America’s northernmost city that has a metropolitan population over one million. A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.
Edmonton’s historic growth has been facilitated through the absorption of five adjacent urban municipalities (Strathcona, North Edmonton, West Edmonton, Beverly and Jasper Place) and a series of annexations ending in 1982.[ Known as the “Gateway to the North”, the city is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories.
Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname “Canada’s Festival City”. It is home to North America’s largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (the world’s largest mall from 1981 until 2004), and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum.
Further information: History of Edmonton and Timeline of Edmonton history
The earliest known inhabitants settled in the area that is now Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 12,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened as the last glacial period ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.
In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek contact with the aboriginal population for establishing the fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmonton was established on the river’s north bank as a major trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The new fort’s name was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, London, the home town of both the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake, and Pruden.
In 1876, Treaty 6, which includes what is now Edmonton, was signed between the Aboriginal peoples in Canada (or First Nations) and Queen Victoria as Queen of Canada, as part of the Numbered Treaties of Canada. The agreement includes the Plains and Woods Cree, Assiniboine, and other band governments of First Nations at Fort Carlton, Fort Pitt and Battle River. The area covered by the treaty represents most of the central area of the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to southern Alberta in 1885 helped the Edmonton economy, and the 1891 building of the Calgary and Edmonton (C&E) Railway resulted in the emergence of a railway townsite (South Edmonton/Strathcona) on the river’s south side, across from Edmonton. The arrival of the CPR and the C&E Railway helped bring settlers and entrepreneurs from eastern Canada, Europe, U.S. and other parts of the world. The Edmonton area’s fertile soil and cheap land attracted settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Some people participating in the Klondike Gold Rush passed through South Edmonton/Strathcona in 1897. Strathcona was North America’s northernmost railway point, but travel to the Klondike was still very difficult for the “Klondikers”, and a majority of them took a steamship north to the Yukon from Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jasper Avenue, ca. 1907
Incorporated as a town in 1892 with a population of 700 and then as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta when the province was formed a year later, on September 1, 1905. In November 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) arrived in Edmonton, accelerating growth.
During the early 1900s, Edmonton’s rapid growth led to speculation in real estate. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the City of Strathcona, south of the North Saskatchewan River; as a result, the city extended south of the North Saskatchewan River for the first time.
Just prior to World War I, the boom ended, and the city’s population declined from more than 72,000 in 1914 to less than 54,000 only two years later. Many impoverished families moved to subsistence farms outside the city, while others fled to greener pastures in other provinces. Recruitment to the Canadian army during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city slowly recovered in population and economy during the 1920s and 1930s and took off again during and after World War II.
The Edmonton City Centre Airport opened in 1929, becoming Canada’s first licensed airfield.Originally named Blatchford Field in honour of former mayor Kenny Blatchford, pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R. “Wop” May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for distributing mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton’s emergence as the “Gateway to the North”. World War II saw Edmonton become a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.
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