Fanshawe student's encounter with Hedley
Credit: AGATA LESNIK (FROM FANSHAWE CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS)
With the current sexual misconduct allegations against Canadian band Hedley, Fanshawe and Western student, Nicole Tucker, shares her encounter with the band.
For second year Fanshawe and Western Media Theory and Production (MTP) student, Nicole Tucker, the allegations come as no surprise.
Tucker and her cousin, Kellisa Wright, who was visiting from Guelph were approached by Hedley's lead singer, Jacob Hoggard and an unidentified individual at the Jack Astors on Richmond Row on Sept. 8, 2017. The band was in London performing at Budweiser Gardens for the Fanshawe at 50: Live in Concert, the following day for Fanshawe's orientation week.
“When we walked in, my cousin noticed the band Hedley was standing at the bar getting drinks, hanging out,” stated Tucker in an interview with Interrobang. “So obviously that was a big shock to us.” Tucker then explained how her and Wright kept their distance from the band as there was a large crowd surrounding them.
“We sit down and then within five minutes I noticed Jacob [Hoggard], the lead singer kind of tap [the unidentified individual] and point at us and that's when we made eye contact and they walked over and asked if they could sit with us.”
Hoggard and the unidentified individual insisted on buying the women alcohol, even challenging them to competitions on how fast they could drink it. “They knew she was 18, I was 19 at the time,” Tucker explains. Hoggard was 33 at the time of the incident.
It was at this point that the unwelcome sexual comments arose. “[Jacob] wanted to take me back to the hotel room, he basically said ‘we can get out of here right now, I'll take you back to bed'. He made a point of wanting to get me pregnant.”
“From my experience with Jacob he came on very strong. He kissed my cheek on multiple occasions and asked me to come up to his hotel room,” Wright weighed in. “He also asked my cousin and myself to have a threesome with him. It doesn't surprise me to hear the accusations towards him.”
At one point during the night, Tucker left the restaurant to take a phone call outside and was followed outside by the unidentified individual. Once she completed her call, he attempted to pull her inside the hotel, which is attached to the restaurant. He was persistent even after Tucker refused to join him in the hotel. Eventually she was able to pull away and quickly ran back to the restaurant to join Wright who had been alone with Hoggard.
Hoggard and the unidentified individual offered Tucker and Wright tickets and backstage passes for the concert the following night at Budweiser Gardens. They even offered to pick the women up and drop them off at home afterwards. “We obviously didn't end up going. We were at that point skeptical that if we went, they would be under the impression that we owe them something.”
Around 12:30 a.m., Tucker claims they left the restaurant. Both her and her cousin had given Hoggard and the unidentified individual their cell phone numbers. “The whole night after I left, Jacob kept texting me saying things like ‘Come back to the hotel, I'll get someone to pick you up',” Tucker stated. “He was telling me he wanted to sleep with me. I kept ignoring the messages at that point.”
After that night, Tucker didn't think much of it, but the days following it, she become more uncomfortable with the events that took place. “If that was anyone else doing that to me, that wasn't a celebrity, you would tell them to get off of you right away,” Tucker said. “I think they use their celebrity status to get girls to talk to them and try to take girls home.”
When asked about her thoughts on the current allegations against Hedley she had this to say: “as soon as I saw the articles coming out, I 100 per cent believed it because I've seen it first-hand.”
Interrobang reached out to Watchdog Management, Hedley's former management who dropped them after the allegations went public. They responded to the Interrobang with the initial statement that was released regarding their business termination with the band: “Given the multiple allegations against Hedley, we have taken the decision to terminate our business relationships with the band, effective immediately.” No other details were given.
The Interrobang tried contacting Hedley, but the band was unable to get be reached for comment.
As of Feb. 28, Hedley announced they will taking an “indefinite hiatus” after their current country-wide tour. A full statement from the band, posted late Wednesday evening, can be seen via Hedley's Twitter page, as well as on Hedley frontman , Jacob Hoggard's personal Twitter page.
“It's time to speak for myself, as I should have done from the beginning,” Hoggard wrote. “ I need to be completely clear: I have never engaged in non-consensual sexual behaviour in my life. Ever. However,. Over the last 13 years, I have behaved in a way that objectified women.”
Hoggard went on to write that ‘it's time for me to change” and has decided to step away from his career “Indefinitely” and will take a “serious step back” to make changes in his life.
“I'm asking for a chance to prove that I can be the man you thought I was, the man I was raised to be,” Hoggard wrote.