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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Mark O'Brien

Feist quits Arcade Fire tour after reading about Win Butler sexual misconduct allegations in Dublin pub

Feist has announced she will not continue touring with Arcade Fire due to sexual misconduct allegations made against the band's lead singer.

The singer played Dublin's 3Arena in support of her fellow Canadians earlier this week. But after she read about the allegations made against Arcade Fire lead singer Win Butler she made the "difficult" decision to pull out of the rest of the tour.

Four people allege Butler behaved inappropriately and sent unwanted sexual messages to them between 2015 and 2020, reports Pitchfork. The star, 42, has denied the claims and added: “It is deeply revisionist and frankly just wrong for anyone to suggest otherwise.”

Read more: Dublin Arcade Fire gigs to go ahead despite sexual misconduct claims against lead singer

The music website's investigation found three women and one gender fluid person, between 18 and 23 at the time, who claimed Butler had taken advantage of them. One woman, given the pseudonym Stella, said she and Butler were texting in 2016 when she was 18 and met for a drink.

She claimed he was “repeatedly sending her explicit texts without consent or reciprocation” and said the messages were not wanted. Butler, who is married to bandmate Régine Chassagne said he did not realise the messages were not wanted, although he recognised the age gap and could see “how it could be overwhelming”.

Arcade Fire singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire has been accused of sexual misconduct by four people (Lorne Thomson/Getty)

Another woman given the name Fiona said he was sexting and video calling after they communicated on Instagram in 2017 when she was 20. Sexual encounters followed which Butler said were consensual.

Butler told Pitchfork he apologised “to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour”.

He said: "I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage. 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. 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. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favours. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened.

"While these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour. Life is filled with tremendous pain and error, and I never want to be part of causing someone else’s pain."

He added: “I am continuing to learn from my mistakes and working hard to become a better person, someone my son can be proud of. I’m sorry I wasn’t more aware and tuned in to the effect I have on people – I f****d up and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed and learn from past mistakes.”

After the allegations emerged, Feist donated the proceeds of merch sales from her shows in the capital to Women's Aid in Dublin. She released a lengthy statement yesterday explaining to fans why she decided to quit the rest of the tour.

She said: "At a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my band, I read the same headline you did. 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."

The star, whose full name is Leslie Feist, added she had received dozens of messages from people expressing sympathy for the difficult situation she had been put in.

"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," she wrote.

"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. 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. I’ve never taken that for granted."

She also expressed sympathy for victims of sexual assault and sexual violence.

"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," she said.

"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."

The Juno Award winner, who has also performed as part of supergroup Broken Social Scene, added she couldn't continue with the tour after performing her songs in Dublin against the backdrop of the allegations against Butler.

She said: "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. 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."


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