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‘Just tell Avril I’m not mad,’ says topless B.C. Junos protester after being charged

Casey Hatherly facing mischief charge for jumping on stage to draw attention to environmental issues
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Avril Lavigne confronts a topless protester during the Junos on Monday, March 13, 2023. Casey Hatherly, 37, has appeared in Edmonton court on a charge of mischief.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Timothy Matwey

A woman facing a criminal charge after a topless protest at the Juno Awards said she isn’t upset about Avril Lavigne swearing at her and demanding she get off stage.

Casey Hatherly, who goes by the name Ever, hopped on the Junos stage on Monday night while the Canadian pop-punk star was introducing a performance.

“I really was hoping that Avril would be punk rock and anti-establishment, maybe hand me the mic and let me say my thing,” said Hatherly in a phone interview on Wednesday. “I’m totally not upset about anything that went down.

“Just tell Avril I’m not mad.”

Hatherly also made a court appearance Wednesday in Edmonton on a charge of mischief.

The 37-year-old from Vancouver said it was easy for her to get onto the stage before security escorted her away.

“I just walked up there,” Hatherly told media outside court. “It was so easy.”

She said she spent the night in custody and officers played Lavigne’s 2002 hit “Sk8er Boi” while driving her to a remand centre.

“Everybody there was very excited to meet me and wanted to talk to me.”

Messages written on the protester’s upper body read “land back” and “save the Greenbelt,” referring to Ontario’s decision last year to open a protected area of land for housing.

“Unfortunately, only two of the messages really came through in the media so far,” said Hatherly, adding that other words written on her body referred to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and old growth logging.

“We chose to do this event and I chose to go topless because we want the headlines,” said Hatherly, who has been working with a group called On to Ottawa.

The interaction has made global international headlines, including on the BBC and in Rolling Stone and Variety.

The environmental activist said she has protested topless before at a FIFA soccer game in Vancouver and while scaling the Victoria Visitor Centre to protest the cutting of old growth trees in British Columbia.

“We are on to Ottawa to demand a citizens assembly to address the desperate need for climate action,” Hatherly said.

At a press conference after the awards show Monday, Lavigne said the interaction was “definitely one of the highlights” of her Junos experiences.

Lavigne took home the people’s choice award, making it her fourth win in the category.

Representatives for the Junos declined to comment on the protest and wouldn’t say if they are reviewing security protocols.

“Because of the incident, more people are talking about the Junos than they have in previous years,” said Hatherly. “As they say, there’s no bad publicity, right?”

—Angela Amato, The Canadian Press

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