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P.E.I. fans weigh in on Hedley performing amid sexual misconduct allegations

Mackenzie Gallant was a Hedley superfan, she was named a band ambassador and has gotten a tattoo of one of their lyrics.
Mackenzie Gallant was a Hedley superfan, she was named a band ambassador and has gotten a tattoo of one of their lyrics. - Submitted

The allegations surfaced on twitter by anonymous users accusing members of the popular foursome of harassment and assault

SUMMERSIDE – To say Mackenzie Gallant was a Hedley superfan would be an understatement.

Over the past six years, she has gone to two Hedley meet and greets, got a tattoo of a song lyric, named a Hedley Ambassador and spent countless hours listening to their music.

“I first got into listening to Hedley when I was about 12. I found the band when my parents were going through a separation. Their music really helped me during that time. They’ve been a big part of my life for about 10 years,” MacKenzie, of Alberton.

Now she’s left with a bitter taste in her mouth after learning about the sexual misconduct allegations facing the band members.

The allegations surfaced on twitter by anonymous users accusing members of the popular foursome of harassment and assault on some fans as young as 14.  Since then, the group has been blacklisted on various radio stations, dropped by their management team and their scheduled openers have withdrawn from the tour.

“Personally the members of the band have always been very great to me. And I know my feelings are different than some Hedley fans, but I don’t support the band right now,” said Mackenzie.

She recalls standing in line for a meet and great and hearing inappropriate comments made, as well as things said while the band was on stage.

“I remember my dad was disappointed when he heard some of the things they were saying.”

MacKenzie was looking forward to seeing the band take the stage in Summerside on Feb. 24. That has since changed.

“I sold my tickets. With everything that has come out, whether it’s all true or not, I didn’t want to go and support them.”

She says she’s sad that people have been mistreated. She also takes issue with the band’s initial statement that said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and have not been validated” and that they blamed it on a rockstar cliché lifestyle.

“Young teens, girls and people should have better role models than this. They shouldn’t be brushing this off.”

Cindy Gallant, of Summerside, was gifted tickets by her boyfriend for her birthday. Although she’s not an avid Hedley fan, she was looking forward to seeing the scheduled openers, Shawn Hook and Neon Dreams perform as well as Hedley.

“I don’t want to go, and it’s not only because the openers won’t be there.”

She says she’s been trying to keep an open mind about the allegations because nothing has been proven, but she says it’s important they are addressed.

“There are so many people who hold onto their stories of assault or harassment, and that’s OK, but for some, they feel the need to come forward with their experience and that’s important because sexual assault and harassment needs to stop.”

Sydney Howell, of Charlottetown, has been a fan of Hedley since their first album release.
Sydney Howell, of Charlottetown, has been a fan of Hedley since their first album release.

Sydney Howell, of Charlottetown, says she wasn’t planning on going to the concert, but has been a Hedley fan since their inception. She still enjoys the band’s music, but doesn’t know what to make of the recent scandal.

“I wish they had handled it better. I’m surprised they’re still going on with the tour. I think the fact that they have been dropped by management and blacklisted on the radio is a huge deal.

“I could see this being a lesson for the future to make sure harassment and misconduct doesn’t continue in any industry.”

millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com

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