Apology Accepted

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But Kayla declines rock star’s offer of a free trip

Kayla Andrews is accepting Jacob Hoggard’s apology.

But she won’t accept his offer of a free trip for two, to see Hoggard’s band, Hedley, live in concert.

I will explain why in a moment. But first, a quick recap.

Kayla attended the Hedley concert last week, and ran into a couple of band members afterward, in a downtown bar. Two of them were very gracious, posing for photos and hamming it up, but she got a different reaction from the band’s lead singer, when she tapped him on the shoulder.

Hoggard turned around, glanced at Kayla, said, “Hey! Look, it’s a midget!” and burst into laughter – before turning his back on her.

“When she came home Friday night, Kayla was so upset,” said her mother, Jackie Andrews, in an interview. “She said, ‘You’ll never believe what happened down on George Street,’ and she told me… The hurt in her eyes. As a mother, it was devastating. I was in shock. I said, ‘You know what, Kayla? You have a voice. I think you should use it.’ So all weekend, she was quiet. Then, on Monday, she phoned me from school to say ‘Mom, I posted a comment on the 99.1 (HITS FM) page on Facebook.’ I said good for you, but I had no idea it was going to go like this.”

I saw Kayla’s comment and contacted her, asking if she’d be willing to talk about it for a blog entry. After some hesitation, she agreed. The item was posted Tuesday, May 29.

Immediately, the traffic was brisk. The entry had about 1,000 page views on that first day. Many were linking to the item on Facebook and Twitter. By end of the next day, it had “gone viral” with more 6,000 hits.

When Jacob issued his apology on Thursday afternoon, the entry had more than 15,000 page views, had been shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook and was generating considerable online discussion, including at Hedley’s own Facebook page. Here is what Hoggard posted on the wall of that page on Thursday afternoon:

Our fans are our number one priority. The reason we’re where we are today. This is why it saddens me to hear a comment I may have made in St. John's was hurtful to one of you, and for that I am sorry. Those who know us, know that we always try to go above and beyond for our wonderful fans and it was never my intention to alienate or offend anyone. If someone knows how we can reach Kayla, please let us know. We would like to fly her and a guest to one of our Canadian festival dates this summer, and apologize to her personally.

Sincerely,

Jacob

When I spoke with Kayla that evening, she said she was “taken back” and “blown away” by the controversy caused by her story. She said she visited The Telegram site many times on Wednesday, following the comments that were being posted there.

“When I noticed how the page views and Facebook links were increasing so drastically, it hit me… I knew this was going to be really big. I certainly haven’t experienced anything like this in my life. It’s the first time I’ve ever spoken out (publicly) about anything. But I am glad I got the message out. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Kayla was born prematurely with renal failure, spent most of her toddler years in hospital, and received a kidney transplant at age four. Her illness decreased her ability to grow taller than 4 foot 7. Mother Jackie said Kayla was bullied in school, but had assumed that ended upon graduation.

“She was in an adult atmosphere, where you would never dream that another adult would insult you like that. It’s very hurtful, especially for someone who has been bullied.”

Jacob Hoggard said his comment “may have” been hurtful, which is half-hearted. In my view, he is not taking full ownership of what he said. It’s also surprising that it took him more than two days to respond, given that he was informed about the story immediately after it appeared. But it is an apology nonetheless, and Kayla is happy with it. However, she is turning down Hoggard’s offer of a trip for two to a Hedley concert.

“If he would like to, I would rather he donate that money to the Kidney Foundation,” she said, adding that extracting some kind of reward from Hoggard was never her intention.

“It was never my intention to have ‘15 minutes of fame.’ It was to confirm to Jacob that he did wrong by insulting me… My intention was to tell Jacob that he’s got to step inside his fans’ shoes. He’s got to realize that we are his fans. Like, who wouldn’t want to get a picture or chat with their idol? He’s got to learn to control himself. He wouldn’t be what he is today without his fans… I also wanted to inform fans that you don’t really know who you are idolizing. It’s an eye opener. It was for me.” 

Last time I counted, the blog entry had generated about 175 comments from readers, posting from across the country. Some were highly critical of Kayla, attacking her for calling their idol out on his behaviour, though most were supportive of her and critical of Hoggard.

“I’m relieved that the majority of comments are positive,” Kayla said. “Otherwise I’d lose my faith in the world. I definitely expect negativity, especially from some of the hardcore fans. That’s only natural.”

The final word goes to Kayla, and the closing sentence from the message she sent last night to Jacob Hoggard:

“Thanks, Jacob. It’s been an incredible few days. I learned a lot from it, and I hope you have too.”  

The Telegram is also following the story today. You can read their coverage here:

http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2012-06-01/article-2993587/Singer-issues-apology-for-bad-behaviour/1

 

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Recent comments

  • Lisa
    September 12, 2013 - 19:17

    Jill shut up. Kayla has every right to be upset and every right to talk about this. Amber ring drunk is not an excuse for what he said. That's like saying he killed someone while drinking and driving and he shouldn't be thought any less of cause he was drunk. Kayla I'm glad you got over this and you sound like a great person :)

  • Pam hefford
    June 02, 2012 - 19:11

    Good for you Kayla.....I guess this shows his real side....Such an idiot ...easy to see the biggest person here. You go girl.!!!!

  • Ashley Raynes
    June 02, 2012 - 12:25

    Good, maybe the idiots that make up a portion of the Hedley fanbase will realize this isnt some petty cry for attention or a ploy to get free things. This letter of "apology" is especially disgusting and blatanly fake because not only did Hoggard most likly not write it, but the "may have said" part is directly sending the message that Kayla's story is not credable, that what happened "may" have happened, and of course some people are believeing it. Talk about a kick in the face. Being a public figure is a career choice that brings certain responsibilites that require self-awareness of the effect their actions have on those who listen to them. Being drunk is not an excuse, crimes commited while drunk are not ignored under the pretext that "they were just drunk! It was just a fun joke!", publicly humilating someone is NOT a joke and is a form of bullying which,should ultimatly be considered a crime. Kayla has in no way, overreacted to this infuriating display of indecency, she is simply fighting for further rights for all people, and a more humane world.

  • Terry McD
    June 02, 2012 - 08:36

    Good for her. The concert offer and press-friendly apology seemed a little too glossy to be sincere. It all reeked of PR professionalism.

  • Amber
    June 01, 2012 - 23:06

    I have 4 things I would like to say... 1) If Kayla approached him in bar, Jake was most likely pretty drunk. He IS known notoriously as a drinker, and a joker. 2) How do we know for sure this actually happened? I'm not saying it didn't, but who knows...? 3) A half-hearted apology? Reffering back to 1 and 2-Jake was drunk and probably doesn't even remember this happening... so.... Self-explanitory. 4) Jake has said many times that he doesn't often go on Twitter and social-networking sites, so that would explain why his apology was late. He was probably messaged by someone on Twitter or Facebook or told by a bandmate or crew member on Thursday and IMMEADIATELY apologized. Yes, I think that it's nice that Kayla wants him to donate the costs, but if he messed up your first meeting, wouldn't you want a do-over?

  • Jill
    June 01, 2012 - 20:25

    LOL. Now this is just stupid. Kayla, stop being a drama queen. This is stuupid. He apologized, you need to swallow your pride and take it. We get it, you're mad, but you can chill out and stop making a big deal. Jake owned up to it and said sorry, so how about you take it, and stop with the crap.

  • C. Cotter
    June 01, 2012 - 14:42

    Kayla, you're a class act.

  • marilee pittman
    June 01, 2012 - 13:41

    Kayla is a pretty "tall " person in my estimation. I'm glad she called him out. His apology was half an apology " a comment I I may have made". A bigger person would have issued an unconditional apology...

  • joy hickey
    June 01, 2012 - 13:27

    Good for you Kayla!! And don't lose faith,the majority agrees with you :) How gracious of you to accept his apology and turn down his offer for the trip,and instead donate the money to the Kidney Foundation!Awesome and kudoos to you,chin up and believe you are Beautiful and unique xo!