Arcade Fire appear to be moving ahead with their ‘WE’ tour – despite frontman Win Butler facing allegations of sexual misconduct (all of which he has denied) – and began the UK leg in Dublin last night (August 30). Feist opened for the show as planned, but has committed to donating all proceeds earned from her merch sales to the local chapter of Women’s Aid.
As shown in a photo making the rounds on social media, Feist’s merch stall was adorned with a flyer that read: “All proceeds from Feist merchandise will be donated to Women’s Aid Dublin”. The Canadian singer-songwriter is yet to publicly acknowledge the move – or the accusations levelled against Butler. However, she has been absent from social media altogether since early May.
Feist is donating proceeds from the merch at the Arcade Fire show tonight to Women’s Aid Dublin pic.twitter.com/36Q3lyYXSL
— kevin freeburn (@KevFreeburn) August 30, 2022
Reactions online have been mixed. On Twitter, writer Adam Grimord-Isham described Feist’s decision to donate her earnings from the show – as opposed to removing herself from the tour altogether – as “a shitshow”, while pop-culture journalist Jill Krajewski wrote: “Business as usual after a red-hot sexual assault and misconduct investigation? Not very twee of you.”
What a shitshow! Feist refusing to cancel as opener and just donating her fee? SMH! https://t.co/rwje8Uds6P
— Adam Grimord-Isham (@Grimisham) August 30, 2022
yikes at feist still opening for arcade fire. business as usual after a red-hot sexual assault and misconduct investigation? not very twee of you
— Jill Krajewski (@JillKrajewski) August 30, 2022
As replies to Krajewski’s Tweet have pointed out, though, Feist may not be able to remove herself from the tour (or speak out on the situation with Butler) due to contractual obligations. Fellow journalist Alheli Picazo has opined that “people should call on Arcade Fire to proactively release” the artist from her contract, raising the question on the issue: “What can or should she reasonably be expected to do?”
Those in the music industry will know/understand better than anyone else the constraints Feist finds herself in.
If anything, I think people should call on Arcade Fire to proactively release Feist from any contractual obligations.
She can then make a free choice.
— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) August 30, 2022
Arcade Fire’s ‘WE’ tour continues tonight (August 31) with a second show in Dublin, which Feist is also scheduled to open. It’s unknown at the time of writing if she plans to also donate tonight’s merch sale earnings to Women’s Aid, or if she’ll be doing the same across the entirety of the tour (which is slated to run until the start of October). NME has reached out for representatives of Feist for clarification and comment.
As per the organisation’s website, Women’s Aid is “a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974”.
Reports of Butler’s alleged sexual misconduct emerged last Saturday, when Pitchfork published an investigation wherein four people accused the frontman of “inappropriate” actions. Butler replied to the allegations in a lengthy statement of his own, claiming he was “very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour” but maintaining that “these relationships were all consensual”.