Feist has announced that she will no longer open for Arcade Fire on their European and North American tour following recent sexual misconduct allegations against the band’s frontman Win Butler. The decision comes the day after she performed her second of two shows with Arcade Fire in Dublin, where the tour kicked off Tuesday (Aug. 30).
Born Leslie Feist, the 46-year-old indie artist shared that she, like most, only learned of the allegations against Butler when they were first published Aug. 27 in a Pitchfork story. The report detailed the accounts of four individuals who claimed to have had sexual interactions with Butler that they found inappropriate, with one alleging that the singer had assaulted them; he has denied that any of the alleged incidents were nonconsensual.
“At a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my band, I read the same headline you did,” Feist began in a lengthy message shared to her Instagram account Thursday (Sept. 1). “We didn’t have any time to prepare for what was coming let alone a chance to decide not to fly across the ocean into the belly of this situation. This has been incredibly difficult for me and I can only imagine how much more difficult it’s been for the people who came forward. More than anything I wish healing to those involved.
“This has ignited a conversation that is bigger than me, it’s bigger than my songs and it’s certainly bigger than any rock and roll tour,” she continued. “To stay on tour would symbolize I was either defending or ignoring the harm caused by Win Butler and to leave would imply I was the judge and jury.”
The “1234” singer went on to say that, at first, she held her commitments to the tour as she thought she could maintain an artistic separation from Butler’s alleged actions. “I was never here to stand for or with Arcade Fire—I was here to stand on my own two feet on a stage, a place I’ve grown to feel I belong and I’ve earned as my own,” she said. “I play for my band, my crew, their loved ones and all of our families, and the people who pay their hard-earned money to share space in the collective synergy that is a show.”
Ultimately, though, she explained that it was the act of playing her music on stage that made her realize she couldn’t continue as Arcade Fire’s supporting act, and announced that she’d be leaving the tour. “I’m imperfect and I will navigate this decision imperfectly, but what I’m sure of is the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour, not this conversation,” she wrote.
“The last two nights on stage, my songs made this decision for me. Hearing them through this lens was incongruous with what I’ve worked to clarify for myself through my whole career,” Feist explained. “I’ve always written songs to name my own subtle difficulties, aspire to my best self and claim responsibility when I need to. And I’m claiming my responsibility now and going home.”
Before pulling out of the tour, Feist had shared that proceeds from the merchandise she sold at the first two shows would be donated to Women’s Aid Dublin, which works to make women and children safe from domestic violence, offers support and help to women affected by abuse, and aims for justice and social change.
In addition to the testimonies of his alleged victims, a statement from Butler was included in Pitchfork‘s report. In it, the musician insists that the relationships he’s had outside of his marriage to Arcade Fire bandmate Régine Chassagne have all been consensual, and that his wife had been aware of them.
“Our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some,” he wrote. “I have connected with people in person, at shows, and through social media, and I have shared messages of which I am not proud. Most importantly, every single one of these interactions has been mutual and always between consenting adults. It is deeply revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for anyone to suggest otherwise.”
“I have never touched a woman against her will, and any implication that I have is simply false,” he continued. “I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened.”
“While these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behavior,” he added. “Life is filled with tremendous pain and error, and I never want to be part of causing someone else’s pain.”
Read Feist’s full statement below: