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Feist has left Arcade Fire’s WE tour after sexual misconduct allegations against the band’s frontman Win Butler emerged last weekend.
The 46-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, who was the indie rock band’s opening act, announced that she had decided to exit the tour in a lengthy note that she posted to Instagram on Thursday,
“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,” Feist, whose full name is Leslie Feist, wrote.
She continued, “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 performed at Arcade Fire’s first two shows in Dublin on Tuesday and Wednesday but announced that she will donate her merch proceeds from the opening night to Women’s Aid Dublin.
In her post, Feist explained that she was initially trying to “get my bearings and figure out my responsibility in this situation.”
She added that she had received “dozens of messages from people around me, expressing sympathy for the dichotomy I have been pushed into.”
The “Fire in the Water” hitmaker wrote, “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.”
“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.”
Feist went on to say that she had spoken to many people since learning of the allegations who shared the “same experiences” and that there isn’t a “singular path to heal” when coping with any kind of mistreatment or abuse.
“It can be a lonely road to make sense of ill treatment,” she said. “I can’t solve that by quitting, and I can’t solve it by staying. But I can’t continue.”
The recording artist added, “Public shaming might cause action, but those actions are made from fear, and fear is not the place we find our best selves or make our best decisions.”
“Fear doesn’t precipitate empathy nor healing nor open a safe space for these kinds of conversations to evolve, or for real accountability and remorse to be offered to the people who were harmed.”
She continued, “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,” Feist concluded, signing off with “Leslie”.
In an article published by Pitchfork on Saturday, three women alleged that they had engaged in sexual interactions with Butler that they now believed were “inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred.”
The women stated that they were Arcade Fire fans and the interactions took place when they were between the ages of 18-23 and he was 36-39.
A nonbinary individual accused Butler of sexually assaulting them twice in 2015. They claimed that they were 18 at the time of the alleged assaults and the musician was 34.
Butler has denied all of the allegations and has said that any sexual interactions were consensual.
After Feist announced that she was departing the tour, Arcade Fire issued an official statement to People magazine, writing, “We are very sorry to see Leslie go home, but completely understand and respect her decision.”