Singer Fest announced Thursday that she is leaving the Arcade Fire tour in the wake of a bombshell report accusing the band’s leader of sexual misconduct.
Leslie Fest, who sings by her last name and hails from Canada, was a guest artist on the indie rock band Arcade Fire’s “We” tour, which kicked off Tuesday in Dublin.
Three women have accused the band’s head, Wayne Butler, of inappropriate sexual interactions and sexual assault of a sexually fluid person, according to a Pitchfork report published August 27. NBC News has not independently confirmed this report.
These allegations, which Butler denied, prompted Feist to walk out of the tour, saying, “I can’t go on.”
“I’m imperfect and I’m going to make this decision imperfectly, but what I’m sure of is that the best way to take care of my team, my crew, and my family is to walk away from this tour, not this conversation,” she said. in long message for her fans.
The artist said she became aware of the allegations when the report was published over the weekend.
“In a pub in Dublin, after working out with my teams, I read the same headline that I read. We had no time to prepare for what was coming, let alone the chance of deciding not to fly across the ocean into the belly of this situation,” she said.
She said it had been “very difficult” for her since the allegations against Butler surfaced.
“Staying on tour symbolizes that I am either defending or ignoring the damage that Wayne Butler has done and leaving would mean that I was the judge and jury.”
She asserted, “I’ve never been here to stand with or with Arcade Fire — I’ve been here to stand on my own two feet on stage.”
“We all have a story that ranges from basic toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to being physically, psychologically, emotionally or sexually assaulted,” Fest continued.
She said that her recent performances eventually prompted her to leave the tour.
“For my last two nights on stage, my songs made that decision for me. And I wrote that hearing them through this lens goes against what I’ve worked to explain to myself throughout my career. I need to. I’m claiming my responsibility now and I’m going home.”
Speaking of the accused, she said, “More than anything I wish to heal those involved.”
“We are very sorry to see Leslie come home, but we fully understand and respect her decision,” Arcade Fire said in a statement to NBC News.
Arcade Fire was founded in 2001 and won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2010.
Butler is married to fellow bandmate Regine Chassani, with whom they share a son.
The Pitchfork report summarizes the defendants’ accounts of their interactions with Butler. Their names have not been revealed.
The three women said that their sexual interactions with Butler were inappropriate due to the age difference with the singer and power dynamics. The accuser of the sexual question alleges that Butler assaulted them twice in 2015.
However, Butler shared a different account of the interactions with the accused at Pitchfork. Through a spokesperson for Risa Heller Communications, Butler denied the allegations, saying that the handling of the four defendants was consensual.
He said, “I have never touched a woman against her will, and any suggestion I have is simply false. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or requested sexual favours. This simply, and unequivocally, never happened,” he said. . “While all of these relationships have been consensual, I am very sorry to anyone I have hurt with my behavior.”
He explained that his wife was aware of the relationships, saying, “The majority of these relationships were short-lived, and my wife was aware – our marriage, in the past, was more unconventional than some.”
He also noted that in his thirties he started drinking and suffered from severe depression.
Chassani also shared a statement saying, “I know what’s in (Butler’s) heart, I know he has never and will never touch a woman without her consent and I’m sure he never did. He strayed and found his way back. I love him and I love the life we created together.” .
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