Feist has announcement that it will no longer open Arcade Fireof the current tour, citing recent sexual misconduct allegations against the leader Earn the Butler. (Butler maintained that all alleged interactions were consensual.) She opened the band’s first two concerts in Dublin, which took place on August 30 and 31 at the 3Arena. During these shows, all proceeds from sales of Feist merchandise at the band were given to Women’s Aid Dublin, an organization dedicated to stopping domestic violence across Ireland. She was scheduled to tour with them for the rest of September in Europe. Read Feist’s full statement below. Pitchfork has contacted a representative from Arcade Fire.
In a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my band, I read the same title as you. We had no 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 was incredibly difficult for me and I can only imagine how much more difficult it was for the people who came forward. More than anything, I wish healing to those involved.
It sparked a conversation that’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than my songs, and it’s definitely bigger than any rock and roll tour. As I tried to get my bearings and understand my responsibility in this situation, I received dozens of messages from people around me expressing sympathy for the dichotomy I was pushed into. 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.
I was never here to represent 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. I play for my band, my team, 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, thoughts and experiences and let this be my career. I never took that for granted.
My experiences include the same experiences as the many people I have spoken to since the news broke on Saturday, and the many strangers I may only be able to reach with this letter, or not at all. We all have a story on a spectrum from basic toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to being physically, psychologically, emotionally, or sexually assaulted. This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a language specific to each of our treatments. There is no singular path to healing when you have endured some version of the above, nor a singular path to rehabilitating the perpetrators. 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.
Public shame can drive actions, but those actions are driven by fear, and fear is not where we find our best selves or make our best decisions. Fear does not precipitate empathy or healing, nor does it 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.
I’m imperfect and I’ll make this decision imperfectly, but what I know for sure is that the best way to take care of my band, my crew and my family is to walk away from this tour, not of this conversation. The last two nights on stage, my songs made that decision for me. Hearing them through this lens was incongruous with what I have worked to clarify for myself throughout my career. I’ve always written songs to name my own subtle struggles, strive for the best in myself, and claim responsibility when I need it. And I claim my responsibility now and I’m going home.