Caesars Windsor is the first venue to cancel a performance by Canadian pop-rock band Hedley amid an allegation of sexual assault against the lead singer and multiple allegations of misconduct against band members.
Dozens of mainly anonymous women have taken to social media in recent weeks to share stories about alleged negative experiences with the B.C. band. On Sunday night, CBC published the story of a 24-year-old Ottawa woman who alleged singer Jacob Hoggard sexually assaulted her in 2016.
Hedley has also been blacklisted by several radio stations, including CBC and dropped by its management.
On Feb. 19, the band withdrew from consideration for the upcoming Juno awards, but issued a statement saying they planned to continue a tour because “the easy thing to do would be to cancel the tour and hide.”
The band played a sold-out show at Barrie’s Molson Centre on Feb. 19 and performed in Quebec City on Monday night. The company that runs FirstOntario Place in Hamilton said Hedley’s March 6 show at the venue was going ahead, but that organizers are “reviewing the situation closely.”
Jhoan Baluyot, Caesars Windsor’s manager of public relations and communication, confirmed it was the venue’s decision to cancel the concert at the Colosseum in a statement emailed to CBC News.
“Caesars Windsor cancelled the Hedley show on March 11,” she wrote. “We will not be making any further comments.”
Other venues urged to follow suit
Lydia Fiorini from the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre in Windsor applauded the decision to cancel and said she hopes other venues follow suit.
“In any movement, once one group comes forward and makes their position known, it tends to catch like wildfire,” she explained. “So we really want to make sure that other venues are listening to this position and thinking about who they’re booking, who they’re supporting and wondering whether it’s something they should be doing.”
Fiorini added Caesars’ move is a clear sign of the current climate and power of the #MeToo Movement.
“It’s a real, clear statement that everybody is going to work together toward ending sexual violence,” she explained. “That’s what we need. We need people to stand up and say ‘we’re not going to tolerate this anymore.'”
Former fans hope band takes time to ‘reflect’
University of Windsor student Erica Bassakos said she supported the cancellation, despite being a fan of the band in the past.
“Hopefully [Hedley] will reflect on what happened and change for the better,” she said.
Malik Nembhard said he has listened to Hedley’s music, but added he wasn’t planning to attend the concert even before the cancellation because of the allegations against the band.
“I have listened to them before, but I may discontinue just because of how serious this issue is,” he added.
Tickets to be refunded
Caesars has apologized for inconveniencing guests and is offering ticket refunds.
- People who purchased their tickets at the Caesars Windsor Box Office can bring proof of purchase there from Friday to Sunday, noon-8 p.m. (and until midnight on show nights) to get their money back.
- Tickets bought online or by phone will be refunded automatically using the payment method used to purchase them.