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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
August Brown

Feist leaves Arcade Fire tour following sexual misconduct allegations against Win Butler

Singer-songwriter Leslie Feist announced on Thursday that she’ll no longer open for Arcade Fire on their European tour, citing the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against that band’s frontman Win Butler.

In an Instagram post after the tour kickoff in Dublin, Feist wrote, “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. ... I’m claiming my responsibility now and going home.”

Feist said in the post that she read about the allegations against Butler, first published in Pitchfork, while preparing for the opening night of tour. At that gig, Feist posted a sign saying that she’d donate all merchandise revenue from that night to the charity Women’s Aid Dublin.

“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. “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.”

She continued, “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. 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. ... 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.”

Four people speaking anonymously to Pitchfork accused Butler of sexual misconduct. One claimed that Butler came to their home, “pinned me up against the wall and was aggressively grabbing my body and sticking his tongue down my throat. ... Eventually he pulled me onto his lap on my couch. I don’t know if he was holding me by the waist or what, but I was physically constrained by him as he was putting his hand down my pants.”

Butler denied the allegations but acknowledged that he had pursued extramarital relationships. Butler is married to Arcade Fire’s co-founder Regine Chassagne. “While these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behavior,” he wrote in a statement.

Feist’s exit from the tour comes as Canadian and U.S. radio stations begin to pull Arcade Fire’s music from their playlists. A representative for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said the broadcaster will “pause” any spins on CBC Music FM radio station and SiriusXM’s CBC Radio 3 station. The program director of Indie88 in Toronto also added that the station formed a “a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band’s music” but had not yet determined to pull the band’s catalog permanently.

Arcade Fire fans had mixed reactions to the allegations. At the tour kickoff in Dublin, one fan told the Guardian, “I’ve been listening to them my whole life. But this news, jeez Louise, I’ve been in ribbons. There are many musicians that do horrid things, but Win?”

Arcade Fire won the 2011 Grammy Award for album of the year with its third studio album, “The Suburbs,” and played a surprise set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April to support its latest album, “We.”

Arcade Fire’s European tour is, for now, proceeding as scheduled, with a U.S. run featuring opener Beck scheduled for later this fall, including two nights at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California, on Nov. 16 and 17.


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