Published Feb 27, 2018It's been a long February for the Canadian pop band Hedley, who have faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. The allegations first emerged with the #outHedley2k18 hashtag, which was started by the then-anonymous @_cndnpsycho Twitter account. Now, the woman behind the account has revealed her identity and spoken out as to why she launched the campaign.
Speaking with CBC, the woman revealed herself to be Taylor Bowman. The 21-year-old lives in Manitoba (her exact location was not disclosed), and Bowman explained that she was motivated to start the Twitter hashtag after she heard multiple stories about the band from friends.
She also allegedly had an incident of her own with Hedley singer Jacob Hoggard, who has since been accused of rape by a 24-year-old Ottawa woman in a separate CBC article. Hoggard and his lawyers have denied the allegations.
"We just decided enough is enough," Bowman told CBC, adding that the response to the Twitter campaign has been overwhelming. "It just kind of blew up, and we didn't really expect it to escalate as much as it did."
Regarding her own alleged incident with Hoggard, Bowman told the CBC that the band's frontman allegedly grabbed her buttocks outside of a Manitoba bar in 2015.
"I mean I was a little flattered I suppose because I was you know in my 18-year-old mind I was like 'Wow this is Jacob Hoggard, he's giving me attention,'" she said. "That's not cool."
Since the #outHedley2k18 hashtag first emerged, Bowman has reportedly received between 50 and 60 stories, and more than 600 tweets have been released with the hashtag. Of course, no allegations against the band have been verified and no formal charges have been laid.
"Part of me does worry about that because I do know that and I realize that false allegations can ruin somebody's life," Bowman said. "But with the amount of stories that I've received and the shocking similarities between them, I can't not believe them."
Many have criticized her for remaining anonymous online, but Bowman said that was the catalyst for her to reveal her identity to the CBC. She also explained that she is a sexual assault survivor, though related to no incident involving Hedley.
"By coming forward and putting a face to the account, maybe people will believe," she said. "I just want to see them [Hedley] take responsibility."
That said, her actions have also been met with plenty of negativity. Even prior to going public, Bowman received numerous online threats, and she has reported them to police. Exclaim! has also received various emails attempting to discredit the campaign and its creator.
Through it all, the members of Hedley have insisted that they are innocent. In an email to the CBC submitted through a spokesperson, they maintained that they've done nothing wrong.
"All of us in Hedley are active on social media, because that is the main way we hear from our fans across Canada," the statement reads. "Because we are active on social media, we often see things said or alleged that simply are not true. That is what we have seen over the past week: allegations made against us by anonymous accounts that are completely, totally false.
"We ask this of our fans across Canada, and to anybody who is listening: please don't believe everything you read online."
The statement continues: "Having said that, this recent experience has caused us to take a hard look at some of our past behaviour. We stated, earlier this week, that Hedley is taking positive steps to do better, and be better moving forward. We still mean that."
Read the full CBC story with Bowman here.