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Feist cancels Arcade Fire tour, citing misconduct allegations against Win Butler

"The best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour [but] not this conversation," Feist said

By Charlotte Krol

Feist and Win Butler of Arcade Fire are pictured in a composite image
Feist; Win Butler of Arcade Fire. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH; Wikimedia Commons/Thesupermat)

Feist has pulled out of her support slot on Arcade Fire’s world tour after feeling that she couldn’t continue in light of sexual misconduct allegations against the band’s lead singer Win Butler.

The singer-songwriter played two shows on the tour before deciding that “the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour [but] not this conversation”.

Three women and one gender-fluid person made claims published by Pitchfork last Saturday (27 August) about Arcade Fire‘s Butler, including forceful touching and unwanted sexual text messages.

He has denied the allegations, saying that the sexual interactions he had with the four people were consensual but apologised “to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour”.

Butler’s wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne has supported him, saying that her husband has “lost his way and he has found his way back…I love him and love the life we have created together”.

Feist said that she learned of the allegations against Butler at the same time as everyone else. “I read the same headline you did,” said the singer-songwriter, whose full name is Leslie Feist.

“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.”

Feist continued: “To stay on tour would symbolise I was either defending or ignoring the harm caused by Win Butler and to leave would imply I was the judge and jury.”

On the opening dates of Arcade Fire’s tour in Dublin, Feist donated her proceeds to Women’s Aid, which helps victims of domestic abuse.

“The last two nights on stage, my songs made this decision for me,” she wrote. “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.”

Arcade Fire have faced calls to pull their tour in the wake of the allegations but have so far continued. The band play Birmingham’s Utilita Arena tonight (2 September) with further UK dates in Manchester, Glasgow and London before heading to Europe and North America.

Arcade Fire perform live
Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs live

Rolling Stone UK was at the band’s Dublin’s 3Arena show earlier this week and noted how little impact the allegations appeared to have on those attending.

“Butler even walked among his fans prior to the gig,” wrote Nick Reilly, “and, when asked by [The Guardian‘s] report whether he would address the allegations during the show, delivered an indifferent shrug.”

Beck, who is due to support the group on the North American leg of the tour, has yet to respond to the accusations against Butler.