Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist, known as Feist, has announced that she will be leaving a tour with Arcade Fire after sexual misconduct allegations against the leader of the group, Win Butler.
A fork investigation published last week alleged that the 42-year-old singer-guitarist of the Canadian indie rock band took advantage of age gaps and fandom with four people; three women, aged 18 to 23 at the time, alleged that Butler sent unwanted sexual messages between 2015 and 2020.
A fourth, gender-fluid person alleged Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015, when they were 21 and he was 34. recalls being informed of the alleged incidents.
Butler denied the claims and said the relationship was consensual, adding in a statement, “It is deeply revisionist, and frankly, simply untrue, for anyone to suggest otherwise.”
“In a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my band, I read the same title as you,” Feist wrote in a long statement posted on his social media accounts. “We didn’t have time to prepare for what was to come let alone a chance to decide not to fly across the ocean in the belly of this situation.”
“It has been incredibly difficult for me and I can only imagine how much more difficult it has been for those who have come forward. More than anything, I wish healing for those involved.
She added that the Pitchfork article “sparked a conversation that’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than my songs and it’s certainly bigger than any rock and roll tour… Staying on tour would symbolize that I was defending or ignoring the harm caused by Win Butler and leaving would imply that I was judge and jury.
The 46-year-old singer said she was “never there to defend or with Arcade Fire – I was here to stand on a stage, a place where I grew up to feel like I belong and earned as my own.
“There is no singular path to healing when you have endured some version of the above, nor a singular path to rehabilitating the perpetrators,” she said. “It can be a lonely road to make sense of the abuse. I can’t solve this by quitting, and I can’t solve it by staying. But I can’t go on.
Following the allegations, radio stations in Canada and the United States began pull band songs from playlists. Social media commentators have urged fans to boycott upcoming gigs in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and elsewhere, with many surprised the tour is going ahead. Asked for comment by a Guardian reporter at the band’s concert in Dublin this weekan Arcade Fire publicist only said the band would continue touring to promote their new album, We.
In his statement, Feist distanced herself from public shaming, which “could lead to actions, but those actions are the product of fear, and fear is not where we find our best selves or make our best decisions Fear does not precipitate empathy or healing, or open up a safe space for these kinds of conversations to evolve, or for genuine accountability and remorse to be offered to those who have been hurt.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Butler, who is married to teammate Régine Chassagne, admitted to having sex with each of the four people, but said they were not initiated by him and were consensual.
In a separate statement, he apologized “to everyone I’ve hurt through my behavior,” adding, “I continue to learn from my mistakes and work hard to become a better person, someone whose my son can be proud. […] I’m sorry for not being more aware and in tune with the effect I have on people – I screwed up, and while that’s no excuse, I will continue to look forward and to heal what can be healed, and to learn from past experiences. ”
Noting that she is “imperfect” and that she “will experience this decision imperfectly”, Feist concluded that “the best way to take care of my band, my team and my family is to walk away from this tour, not from this conversation. The last two nights on stage, my songs made that decision for me. Hearing them through that lens was incongruous with what I’ve worked to clarify for myself throughout my career. .
“I’ve always written songs to name my own subtle struggles, to strive for my best self, and to claim responsibility when I need it. And I’m claiming responsibility now and going home.