Feist quits Arcade Fire tour after sexual misconduct allegations surface against Win Butler

·2 min read
Musician Leslie Feist, known as Feist, arrives on the red carpet for the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa, April 2, 2017. The singer-songwriter is leaving Arcade Fire's tour following allegations of sexual misconduct against the band's frontman Win Butler. (Chris Wattie/Reuters - image credit)
Musician Leslie Feist, known as Feist, arrives on the red carpet for the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa, April 2, 2017. The singer-songwriter is leaving Arcade Fire's tour following allegations of sexual misconduct against the band's frontman Win Butler. (Chris Wattie/Reuters - image credit)

WARNING: This article contains content about sexual assault and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

Polaris-winning musician Leslie Feist, who was performing as opening act for the band Arcade Fire in Dublin, has quit the tour.

The musician made the announcement in an Instagram post on Wednesday, citing allegations of sexual misconduct against Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler as the reason for her departure.

The allegations first gained public attention from news publication Pitchfork, which stated that four people have made allegations against Butler. CBC News was unable to independently verify these allegations. They have not been proven in court.

In two statements to Pitchfork, Butler denied all allegations, saying that sexual interactions he had with the four people were consensual, but apologized "to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour."

In her post, Feist says she and her band were blindsided by the Pitchfork story, though did not have time to decide on whether to cancel their participation in the upcoming tour, mere days later.

The decision to leave now came from a desire to "distance [herself] from this tour, not this conversation," while she still argued against "public shaming."

"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," Feist wrote in her post.

"It can be a lonely road to make sense of ill treatment. I can't solve that by quitting, and I can't solve it by staying. But I can't continue."

Radio stations pull Arcade Fire music 

A number of radio stations have pulled the band's discography from their lineups, including CBC Music and Toronto's Indie88.

Elsewhere, some fans have called on Arcade Fire to cancel their ongoing UK and Ireland tour following the allegations, though it has so far gone ahead as planned.

Their first show in Dublin on Aug. 30 saw the band debut to "rapturous applause" according to the Los Angeles TimesThe Guardian reported Feist made no comment on the allegations then, but displayed a poster declaring proceeds for her merchandise would go to the Irish charity Women's Aid, which helps victims of domestic abuse.

American musician Beck, who is scheduled to front the band on their North American tour starting in September, is still scheduled to appear.

Meanwhile, Butler's wife and fellow Arcade Fire member Régine Chassagne also put out a statement in defence of Butler.

"I know what is in his heart, and I know he has never, and would never, touch a woman without her consent and I am certain he never did," Chassagne said in the statement. "He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together."

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.