“I’ve always written songs to name my own subtle difficulties, to strive for my best self, and to claim responsibility when needed,” Feist said in a tweet Thursday. “And I now claim my responsibility and go home.”
Pitchfork’s story chronicles the experiences of four young Arcade Fire fans who said Butler took advantage of their age differences and power dynamics in a series of unwanted sexual interactions between 2015 and 2020.
Three women said Butler sent them unwanted, sexually explicit messages when he was in his late thirties and between the ages of 18 and 23. been 34.
Pitchfork reported that the fans’ accounts were supported by screenshots of messages and interviews with friends and family.
Butler, now 42, admitted to having sexual interactions with the four people, but said they were consensual. “It’s very revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for someone else to suggest,” he told Pitchfork.
Feist said she learned of the allegations after rehearsing with her band for a few shows in Dublin. It presented her with a moral dilemma, she said.
“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,” she wrote.
“Staying on tour would symbolize that I was defending or ignoring the damage done by Win Butler,” she said, “and leaving would imply I was the judge and jury.”
During the first two shows that opened before Arcade Fire, Feist donated all proceeds from the merchandise to Women’s Aid Dublin, an advocacy group helping victims of domestic violence in Ireland.
She decided to quit altogether, she said, after hearing from people close to her who “expressed sympathy for the dichotomy I’ve been pushed into.”
“This has sparked a conversation bigger than me, it’s bigger than my songs and it’s definitely bigger than any rock and roll tour,” Feist wrote.
She added: “It can be a lonely road to understand poor treatment. I can’t fix it by stopping, and I can’t fix it by staying. But I can’t go on.”
An Arcade Fire representative could not be immediately reached for comment Friday. In a statement to Pitchfork, the band said it was “sorry to see Leslie go home, but fully understand and respect her decision.”
Arcade Fire’s social media accounts have been quiet since Pitchfork first reported the allegations of sexual misconduct. The band has won multiple Grammys and its records have been certified gold. Butler’s wife, Régine Chassagne, is a member of the band.
Several radio stations in North America, including Canada’s largest public broadcaster, have taken the Canadian band’s discography out of their rotations in the past week in response to the allegations. Some fans have urged others to boycott the tour and have appealed to live entertainment giant Ticketmaster to issue refunds on concert tickets.