Feist announced Thursday that she is dropping off Arcade Fire’s European tour — where she and her band were serving as the opening act — following the allegations of sexual misconduct against Win Butler.
Feist explained her decision to depart the trek after two shows in a lengthy statement on social media, revealing that she first learned about the accusations against Butler on Saturday after she and her band had already traveled to Europe for the tour. Despite the allegations, Feist opened the tour’s first gig in Dublin but donated proceeds from merch sales to a local women’s aid organization.
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“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 wrote. “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.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Arcade Fire addressed Feist’s decision to leave the tour, saying, “We are very sorry to see Leslie go home, but completely understand and respect her decision.”
Continuing her own statement, Feist acknowledged that dropping off the Arcade Fire tour would also financially impact her band and crew. “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. 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.”
“My experiences include the same experiences as the many people I have spoken to since the news broke on Saturday, and the many strangers whom I may only be able to reach with this letter, or not at all,” she continued.
“We all have a story within a spectrum ranging from baseline toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to actually being physically, psychologically, emotionally or sexually assaulted. This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a language unique to each of our processing. There isn’t a singular path to heal when you’ve endured any version of the above, nor a singular path to rehabilitate the perpetrators. 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.”
On Saturday, multiple women came forward in a Pitchfork report that detailed Butler’s alleged sexual misconduct, the accusations of which ranged from sexual assault to unsolicited sexting. While Butler admitted to the extramarital affairs, he responded that they were all “consensual.” “I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened,” Butler wrote.
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The report came out just days before Arcade Fire’s European tour launched, forcing Feist into this awkward position; she ultimately decided it was best to depart.
“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. 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.”
This story was updated on 09/01 at 3:22pm ET with Arcade Fire’s statement.
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