Frontman Jacob Hoggard, identifies as Donald Trump, covers Frank Ocean and takes a fan’s phone, again.
By Benjamin Hargreaves
Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard continued his “frat boy persona” and habit of stealing phones during the band’s Cageless tour stop in Peterborough, Ont. on Friday, marking their second performance since announcing an indefinite hiatus amid ongoing sexual misconduct allegations.
With performers Shawn Hook, Neon Dreams and most recently, Quebec City’s Liteyears, cancelling as Hedley’s opening acts, the band took the stage with only a few songs played over the speakers as an opener.
Multiple women on social media have spoken out against Hoggard regarding alleged acts of sexual misconduct. Most recently, on Feb. 25, a 24-year-old Ottawa women came to the CBC with accusations against Hoggard regarding several alleged encounters occurring in 2016.
After this allegation was published, Hoggard released a statement on Twitter admitting to behaving in a way that “objectified women.”
Roughly an hour before the show began, Hoggard took to Twitter again, this time acknowledging that the CBC has told him new allegations are going to come out from yet another woman, writing, “The allegation is startling and categorically untrue. It is not within my capacity as a person to force anyone beyond their boundaries."
“What’s going on Peterborough?” Hoggard shouted to a crowd of roughly 2,300 people in the venue that has a concert capacity of about 5,000. The crowd cheered as Hoggard began singing “Better Days”, a song from their new album, Cageless.
Hedley’s setlist for the night would also include their hits “Anything,” “Cha-Ching” and “Lose Control” as well as “Bad Tattoo” and “All Night” from their most recent album, all being received with deafening cheers from the audience.
However, Hedley’s visit to Peterborough was not well received by all.
“It makes me angry [that] this is happening,” says Shawna Blackwood a 26-year-old Peterborough resident and only protestor at Hedley’s Peterborough performance.
Blackwood stood outside the Memorial Centre for just under an hour leading up to Hedley’s 7:30 p.m. scheduled start.
Blackwood believes the Memorial Centre should have cancelled the show, much like the Windsor Ont. venue did to Hedley’s scheduled performance on Mar. 11. She also believes peaceful protest is useful in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
“I’m just here commending their bravery,” Blackwood said referring to the women speaking out against Hoggard. “I’m providing access to information about reporting sexual assault and the fact that consent is sexy and no means no.”
Blackwood stood outside the entrance to the Memorial Centre holding a sign reading “She said no!” in reference to the Ottawa woman who came forward, for roughly five minutes before two security guards approached her. Each guard took a pamphlet she was handing out on how to report sexual assault and then asked her to leave the property.
Hedley’s performance on Friday included a rendition of Frank Ocean’s, rather explicit track, “Self Control,” which Hoggard delivered as a solo.
Hoggard continued, what The Canadian Press reporter David Friend coined, his “frat-boy persona,” after taking a fan’s phone in their Brampton, Ont. show on Mar. 1.
Almost mirroring his antics from the night before, Hoggard called out a fan in the front row for texting during the show. He proceeded to ask for the phone and after scrolling through her contacts, called the girl’s father.
“Hey, it’s Jake from Hedley, we’re on stage at the Hedley show in Peterborough,” Hoggard said.
Hoggard stayed on the phone with the girl’s father for another 15 seconds, before saying “I miss you and I wish you were here at the Hedley concert. I’ll talk to you later. TTYL. BRB. LOL. JK Dad,” and hanging up. After scolding the girl once more for texting he ended the charade by taking a selfie on the girl’s phone.
Hoggard would not directly address the allegations against him but he would repeat a speech he has delivered in multiple performances, including Hedley’s Brampton show the night before.
“Peterborough, thank you for standing behind us,” he said, “for believing in us and loving us every step of the way.”
“It’s fans like you that keep us doing what we are doing,” Hoggard continued. “We couldn’t get through this without people like you, through the ups and the downs, through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad. ‘Cause Peterborough, sometimes life sucks and that’s why we’ve got you, ‘cause Peterborough sometimes life sucks and that’s why you’ve got us.”
The crowd then assisted Hoggard with the final verse of the song, with Hoggard ending it by saying goodnight to the crowd.
The response was not quite a standing ovation, but it was enough to bring the band back to the stage for one encore song.
This piece was edited by Valerie Dittrich.