Singer Feist has quit her support slot on tour with Arcade Fire, following sexual assault allegations made against the band’s frontman, Win Butler, over the weekend.
Four former fans of the band — three women and one who now identifies as gender-fluid — had come forward in a lengthy Pitchfork investigation published over the weekend, accusing Butler of unwanted sexual advances ranging from illicit text messages to forceful touching.
Butler has denied the allegations of non-consensual sexual acts, although admitted to having extra-marital affairs, in a detailed response to the reports. His wife and fellow bandmate, Régine Chassagne, also provided a statement defending him.
On Tuesday, the band’s world tour commenced in Dublin to a crowd of around 14,000 and included the support of singer-songwriter Feist. But her support has now come to an end, citing the allegations as the reason why.
— Feist (@FeistMusic) September 1, 2022
In a nuanced message posted to Twitter, Feist, whose real name is Leslie Feist, announced she ultimately “can’t continue” on the tour and has decided to “go home”.
“At a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my band, I read the same headline you did,” the Grammy-nominated singer explained. “We didn’t have any time to prepare for what was to 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.”
“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.
“As I tried to get my bearings and figure out my responsibility in this situation, I received dozens of messages from the people around me, expressing sympathy for the dichotomy I have been pushed into.
“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.”
It was reported that Feist had donated the proceeds of her merch sales to Women’s Aid Dublin at the band’s first night of their tour, with many deeming this as being in response to the news she had only just found out about.
With her departure not only bringing more attention but also serving as a symbolic pulling of support from a fellow artist, more pressure will add to the growing calls that Arcade Fire should pull their tour entirely.
Dates in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and London, however, so far remain in the calendar for next week.
Beck is set to add to Arcade Fire’s North American leg of the tour, although he is yet to respond to the situation.
Arcade Fire responded to Feist’s decision, per Consequence, writing in a statement, “We are very sorry to see Leslie go home, but completely understand and respect her decision.”