Why I didn't let myself go to Hedley's Kingston concert

The sexual assault allegations that made me reconsider my decision

Hedley on the set of their music video 'Better Days'.
Supplied via Wikipedia

Imagine if your hero, idol or celebrity crush was accused of doing something completely hateful and immoral — like committing sexual assault. While it once may have been unimaginable, this has unfortunately become more of a reality than ever before. It’s a situation I experienced when numerous allegations of sexual assault came out against the popular Canadian band Hedley.

Granted, the members of Hedley weren’t my leading idols and I wasn’t overly obsessed with them as a band, but I’d been a fan of theirs for many years and really enjoyed their music. So many of their old songs bring a favourite, feel-good vibe and their recent releases are stacked with 

party-ready songs. For these reasons, I was excited when I found out their tour would be bringing them to Kingston on Feb. 27. 

My friends and I bought floor seat tickets for a reasonable price and I prepared for what I expected to be one of the most enjoyable nights of my life … until I heard the accusations. 

Various headlines read “Canadian Band Hedley are Being Accused of Sexually Assaulting Young Fans”, “Lead Singer of Hedley Accused of Rape”, “Hedley No Longer Playing Juno Awards After Sexual Misconduct Allegations.” The list goes on. 

My friend and I instinctively let out a simultaneous outcry when the allegations were first brought to our attention. We’d just purchased our tickets a few days prior and couldn’t have been more disappointed or wished harder that there had been some sort of mistake. 

Yes, I was extremely excited for the concert but no, I could no longer bring myself to go.

Just by showing up to their concert, I wouldn’t only feel like I’d be supporting them, but I actually would be supporting them, emotionally and financially. Especially in the currently tense climate of the #MeToo movement, supporting the brave women and men coming forward about their experiences with sexual assault is more crucial than ever. 

Contributing to the success of those who violate others promotes the idea that because of their celebrity status, they deserve special treatment and can get away with whatever they want. Though this has unfortunately been the norm for decades, I refuse to stand by it. 

Going to Hedley’s concert would only be encouraging the behaviour of the band members and delegitimizing the experiences of the victims and survivors. I refuse to continue to give money or power to those who don’t honour consent. 

I’m aware I could’ve easily disguised myself among the many fans who still attended the concert and leave without having to say a word. But my silence in this case would mean ignoring what I know is right. 

Losing out on all the money I paid for the Hedley tickets is a small price to pay to keep my morals intact and be on the right side of one of the biggest feminist movements our society has ever seen. Now’s the time to speak up and do what I can to hold Hedley accountable for their behaviour.

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