The Junos protester explains why she disrupted the award ceremony

Casey Hatherly, center, did not apologize for her public protest at the Juno Awards in Edmonton Monday night.  (Ed Kaiser/Reuters - photo credit)

Casey Hatherly, center, did not apologize for her public protest at the Juno Awards in Edmonton Monday night. (Ed Kaiser/Reuters – photo credit)

A Vancouver woman charged with mischief after disrupting the Juno Awards has made no apologies for her public protest that made headlines around the world.

Casey Hatherly, who goes by the name Ever, was arrested after interrupting Avril Lavigne’s speech during the high-profile event; The 37-year-old was topless, wore pies and had slogans scrawled on her body for environmental causes such as “Stop logging old growth now” and “Save the Green Belt”.

CBC News spoke to Hatherly Wednesday outside the Edmonton courthouse after her bail hearing. Her next court appearance is on April 5.

She said she is part of a group called On To Ottawa that will go to the nation’s capital in April to call for a town hall meeting on climate action.

Hatherly, who had a ticket for the Junos, said she chose the awards show simply because of the international exposure it would attract as a platform.

“We wanted to start with a big bang and I think we achieved that goal,” she said, adding that she chose to disrupt Lavigne “for the headline.”

CLOCK | The Junos protester explains why she disrupted the show:

“I was tentatively hoping in my heart of hearts that she would be punk rock, girl power, give me the mic or something, but I don’t think it could have gone any better,” she said.

Instead, Lavigne used expletives to tell Hatherly to get off the stage.

“That will definitely go down as one of the highlights,” Lavigne said of the incident Monday night.

Samuel Martin/CBC

Samuel Martin/CBC

Hatherly said she chose to go topless because more people would click on a story about a topless protester than an environmental activist.

“We’ve gotten international attention, and even if people aren’t asking the right questions now, they will be,” she said.

“Everyone just saw a topless protester but they’re looking now. It’s not an issue that people want to think about – the climate catastrophe that we are currently witnessing here and around the world.”

Junos security questions

Questions about safety were asked at the awards ceremony; Appearing to get on stage easily, Hatherly was onstage for 30 seconds before being escorted by security.

“I just went there. It was so easy,” she said.

In a statement, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which runs the Junos, said it is “taking all steps to avoid disruption to our program.”

“But there are always risks with live events and broadcasts,” the statement said.

CBC News asked if there would be an investigation into how the protester got on the stage and if any security changes would be made.

The organizers then said they would not comment further.

Just stop oil/Reuters

Just stop oil/Reuters

This isn’t the first time environmental activists have uniquely raised awareness of their cause.

Last October, climate protesters threw a can of soup at Vincent van Gogh’s house sunflowers Paintings in London’s National Gallery; The painting was behind glass.

CBC News asked Hatherly if she thought her protest had turned people away from her cause.

“I think to get people’s attention you have to do something dramatic. And I know I have an incredible privilege, and it’s my absolute privilege to stand up and fight for something I believe in,” she said in response.

Planned protest

Hatherly said planning for the protest began about a week ago.

She then took a 10-hour bus ride from Vancouver to meet up with two others from On To Ottawa at the BC Interior before heading to Edmonton.

Hatherly said that although she has previously participated in other acts of civil disobedience, this is the group’s first act.

After being escorted off the stage, Hatherly said she had several conversations with Junos staffers about public disturbance.

“Everyone said, ‘Why are you roaming?’ and I say, ‘I roam for a really good reason.’ So I had to have really good conversations with the people who work there, as well as … with most of the officers who arrested me at the two facilities where I was held,” she said.

environmental movements

David Tindall, a sociology professor at the University of British Columbia, said the Junos incident was a classic case of an activist trying to “create a spectacle” and garner media attention.

“I think the Juno Awards was a good example of an opportunity where they probably knew there was going to be a lot of media attention,” he said.

“And I think a lot of young people who are activists right now have really lost their patience in terms of a variety of things but taking action on climate change, taking action on trying to protect ancient forests, taking action on indigenous claims around country and also in Ontario there are problems around the green belt.”

Mike Zimmer/CBC

Mike Zimmer/CBC

However, Tindall said the incident might have been more effective if it had happened at a government event or in the presence of politicians.

“I don’t think stopping musicians who are receiving awards unconditionally has the same effect when it comes to putting pressure on the people who are present at the event,” he said.

“My feeling is that there’s probably more attention to the spectacle part than the news part in this case.”

Tindall said that as young activists feel a sense of urgency about climate change, he expects there will be more such actions in the future.


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