When sexual misconduct allegations came out against Canadian rock band, Hedley earlier this week with the hashtag #outHedley2k18 on Twitter, that has since resulted in the band being dropped by their management, and allegedly being investigated for drugging an underage fan in 2005, fans have been eager to pull their support of the B.C.-based quartet. However, some fans with Hedley-inspired tattoos faced an expensive trip to the tattoo parlor to cover up their once beloved body art.
Enter Toronto-based tattoo artist and Speakeasy Tattoo owner, Lizzie Renaud, who announced on Twitter that she would be offering to cover-up Hedley-inspired tattoos for free.
PLEASE CONTACT ME if you are in the toronto area and need a Hedley-related Tattoo covered. I will be trying to provide as much free cover up work for any of you who need me. You may DM me here, or call for a consultation at 6473782481. #outhedley2k18 #hedley
— Lizzie Renaud (@LZA) February 15, 2018
In what inspired her to do this, she said, “tattooing has played its part in the abuse and exploitation of women and QTPOC for too long, and it is my mission to create safe spaces and reduce harm to balance the ugliness of the arts world.”
Thus far, the internet’s response to her offer has included “a lot of hatred and vitriol”.
“Fans calling me a twat, and telling people to boycott my tattoos,” Renaud reveals. “[I’ve also had fans] telling me that I’m just jealous that Jake [Hoggard] didn’t assault me, and I’m lashing out because I’m upset he’s engaged, which is hilarious because I honestly never would have had any interest. I never saw Jake as grounded enough to be someone I could spend that kind of time with.”
Despite the negative response, Renaud says that so far five women have booked appointments to have their tattoos covered up.
With the mainstream media attention on the unfolding Hedley scandal, one would assume that other tattoo artists or shops would be joining Renuad in helping impacted Hedley fans, however Renaud admits that no other tattoo artists or shops have expressed solidarity with her efforts. “I think it’s honestly pathetic and embarrassing for everyone.”
Renaud, who has worked as a tattoo artist for 15 years, collaborated with Hedley on their 2005 music video for “Gunnin’”, and later became friends with frontman Jacob Hoggard, even tattooing him on occasion.
“Jacob was very attention hungry and I was happy to be silly with him,” said Renaud. “I think he saw that I was a fun loving person and we bonded.”
However, Hoggard eventually grew distant, which strained their friendship.
“We would connect so I could help some family get [on Hedley’s] guest lists or to have a fun chat here and there, or sometimes I’d go swim at the Toronto hotel pools he was staying at,” Renaud explained. “However I started to feel that there was less and less of a connection as years passed. He had been hurtful to me a few times, and he didn’t like that I had held him accountable for those times, and it pushed him away.”
When Renaud first heard about the allegations against Hoggard and other Hedley band members, she felt “instant sadness, betrayal, anger, and immediate resolve to do something.”
She stressed that it was imperative for her to set an example and hold Hoggard and Hedley publicly accountable. “I try to spread a lot of messaging about harm reduction,” Renaud said. “And for me to be silent about someone in my friend circle would have been the antithesis of what people expect of me.”
Asked what people can do to remove the stigma against sexual assault survivors, Renuad says, “BELIEVE WOMEN. Protest. Change laws, and always mandate harm reduction in all areas of your life.”
Follow Lizzie Renaud on Twitter: @LZA