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'An exercise of freedom': Topless protester stormed Junos for climate action awareness

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The topless streaker whose brief protest made international headlines says it was easy to get on the Juno Awards stage Monday evening.

Half an hour into the televised broadcast for Canada's biggest awards in music, 37-year-old Casey Hatherly, who goes by the first name Ever, crashed the stage topless to highlight the need for climate action.

The Vancouver resident, facing a charge of unlawful obstruction, appeared in Edmonton court Wednesday morning.

Ever told CTV News Edmonton that her trip to Alberta's capital was specifically to "disrupt the Junos." She was released from police custody Tuesday.

"I am an independent activist. I will stand up for any cause I truly believe in. The causes I believe in were written on my body," Ever said.

Ever described how she chose to jump on stage during Avril Lavigne's introduction of Indo-Canadian hip hop singer and rapper AP Dhillon because she didn't want to "steal anybody's thunder."

"There was a lot of security, but I am pretty determined," she said. "I just did it. It's what I needed to do."

She said, "Save the Greenbelt," "Land back," and "Stop the TMX pipeline" were some of the messages she scrawled across her torso, back and arms.

Avril Lavigne confronts a topless protester as she presents during the Junos Monday, March 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Timothy Matwey

"These are the immediate steps our government needs to take in order to create climate action now," Ever said, adding that she is aligned with the On-To-Ottawa climate cross-country protest trek.

Ever explained how she recently participated in two other topless protests this past year. One included being part of a Canada Soccer game disruption in Vancouver to highlight the Save Old Growth forests movement.

This was the first time she was incarcerated after participating in a protest, Ever said.

"I truly believe that it wouldn't be as big a deal if I wasn't a female," she said. "It's about standing up for what I believe in."

"I find not only does it get more headlines," Ever added, "it's an exercise of freedom. Why did I have to wear pasties? Why was it when I was taken into police custody did I see it says, female in custody for exposing herself at the Junos?"

She is scheduled to appear in court again on April 5.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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