Musician Feist 'Can't Continue' Arcade Fire Tour amid Win Butler's Sexual Misconduct Allegations

·6 min read
Feist, Win Butler of Arcade Fire
Feist, Win Butler of Arcade Fire

George Pimentel/Getty; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic Feist, Win Butler of Arcade Fire

Canadian singer-songwriter Feist has pulled out as the opening act on Arcade Fire's recently launched WE Tour after member Win Butler was accused of sexual misconduct by several individuals.

Following the tour's opening two concerts in Dublin, the 46-year-old musician, whose real name is Leslie Feist, shared a lengthy note on social media on Thursday explaining her decision to exit the tour and why she chose to perform at the first shows.

Feist opened the statement by explaining that she was "at a pub in Dublin" after her band rehearsal when she read Pitchfork's recent article detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against Butler, 42, by three women as well as sexual assault by one non-binary person. In a statement included in the article, published Aug. 27, the Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist claimed every interaction with the accusers was "consensual."

"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," Feist wrote on Facebook. "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."

win butler, arcade fire
win butler, arcade fire

Mark Horton/Getty Win Butler

After learning the news, she attempted to figure out her next steps. "I received dozens of messages from the people around me, expressing sympathy for the dichotomy I have been pushed into," she said. "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."

Despite her position as an opening act, Feist then said she "was never there to stand for or with Arcade Fire" but rather to play her own music to support her band and crew as well as their loved ones or families, seemingly indicating finances played a role in her decision.

"The ebb and flow of my successes, failures, and other decisions affect all of our livelihoods and I recognize how lucky I am to be able to travel the world singing songs about my life, my thoughts and experiences and have that be my career," continued her statement. "I've never taken that for granted."

She recalled having conversations with people who share the "same experiences" after the news broke. "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," wrote Feist. "This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a language unique to each of our processing."

The musician added, "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."

Concluding the statement, Feist explained that stepping away from the tour "is the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family," though she wants to remain part of "this conversation."

"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," she wrote. "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."

Arcade Fire wished her well in a statement to PEOPLE, saying, "We are very sorry to see Leslie go home, but completely understand and respect her decision."

win butler, arcade fire
win butler, arcade fire

Phillip Chin/Getty Arcade Fire

Feist's note arrived shortly after three Canadian radio stations — Indie88 as well as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBC Music FM station and SiriusXM CBC Radio 3 station — announced they've pulled Arcade Fire's music from playlists for the foreseeable future.

RELATED: Arcade Fire's Win Butler Denies Alleged Sexual Misconduct and Claims Affairs Were 'Consensual'

In the Pitchfork story, the three accusing women, all of whom were self-described as then-Arcade Fire fans, spoke about several alleged sexual interactions they've deemed "inappropriate" due to the age gap, power shift and other contextual reasons. According to the women, Butler allegedly sent unrequested sexual images and videos to them on multiple occasions and asked for the same in return.

They claimed the events, which took place from 2016 to 2020, occurred when the women's ages ranged from 18 to 23 and Butler was between ages 36 and 39.

The fourth, nonbinary-identifying accuser, who spoke to Pitchfork under the pseudonym "Lily," claimed they were sexually assaulted by Butler twice in 2015, when they were 21 and he was 34, after meeting at an Arcade Fire concert.

Lily and Butler became friends following the meeting and hung out on multiple occasions, with Lily recounting many of their interactions as "uncomfortable" and Butler claiming they were "mutual" and "flirtatious." After one dinner hangout, Lily alleged Butler touched their crotch in a "very aggressive" manner, though the Grammy winner denied the claim.

Butler responded to each event with declinations and/or his own recollections, which differed from the accusers', and gave a statement to Pitchfork through crisis publicist expert Risa Heller.

"I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage," said the musician, referencing his longtime wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne. "There is no easy way to say this, and the hardest thing I have ever done is having to share this with my son. The majority of these relationships were short lived, and my wife is aware — our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some."

Win Butler and Régine Chassagne
Win Butler and Régine Chassagne

Kevin Winter/Getty Win Butler and Régine Chassagne

Butler admitted to connecting with several individuals "in person, at shows, and through social media" and sending messages he's "not proud" of. However, he said "every single" interaction has been "mutual and always between consenting adults."

"I have never touched a woman against her will, and any implication that I have is simply false. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened," he added.

Butler said that going forward, he will keep learning from his mistakes and "working hard to become a better person." He then apologized for his actions.

"I say to you all my friends, family, to anyone I have hurt and to the people who love my music and are shocked and disappointed by this report: I'm sorry. I'm sorry for the pain I caused," read the statement's conclusion. "I'm sorry I wasn't more aware and tuned in to the effect I have on people — I f---ed up, and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed, and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.