Controversial tour start for Arcade Fire, CBC Music boycotts the band

Controversial tour start for Arcade Fire, CBC Music boycotts the band

Arcade Fire kicked off its tour as planned in Dublin on Tuesday, despite allegations of sexual misconduct against singer Win Butler, as a wave of ticket refund requests swept through social media. For its part, the music channel CBC Music has confirmed that it will stop playing the group’s songs until further notice.

Updated yesterday at 8:28 pm

joseph lapointe

joseph lapointe

Vincent Larin

Vincent Larin

In an article published on Sunday, four people told the US outlet Pitchfork that they had been victims of sexual misconduct by the leader of Arcade Fire. Allegations that have been refuted by Win Butler, who says he never had a non-consensual relationship, but has apologized for the pain he caused by not being “more aware and attentive to the effect” he has on people.

In the evening, a spokesperson for CBC Music confirmed that the music channel will boycott Arcade Fire due to the accusations about its singer, “until we have more details on the situation.” At least one other Toronto music station, Indie88, has also made the decision to stop playing the band’s songs.

On behalf of ICI Musique, we say we are “sensitive to the situation” although no directive has been formally sent to the animators.

“For the moment, we reserve the possibility of not issuing or starting new projects with the artist. In addition, we let the teams decide about streaming music on their shows. [selon leur mandat]. This work of musical editorial judgment is naturally done in connection with the context”, said a spokesman for the state company, Marc Pichette.

Cancellation appeals

Following the publication of the Pitchfork text, many calls were made for the tour to be cancelled.

But seeing that the group had decided to go ahead with the shows, many fans said they couldn’t come to applaud them on stage or even cheer for them. On Twitter, refund requests, which directly challenge the giant Ticketmaster, were very numerous this Tuesday.

But a few hours before the start of the show, the two concerts in Dublin were still in charge of the production company MCD Productions, with no possibility of reimbursement for people who no longer wanted to attend.

Opening the evening at 6:30 pm, Canadian singer Feist took the stage as scheduled. Proceeds from the sale of her merchandise will be donated to Women’s Aid Dublin, reads a small sign hanging from her. stop.

Arcade Fire then took to the stage at Dublin’s 3Arena to a cheering crowd and few empty seats, kicking off the show without commenting on the situation.

The group, which performed in Osheaga a few weeks ago, is scheduled to perform around 40 shows this fall in Europe and the United States. The tour USthe title of his most recent album, will end in Montreal on December 3 at the Bell Centre.

Press evenko, who hosts the show, asked if a cancellation was being considered. “We are currently evaluating the situation,” they told us in an email. Same for refund requests: “We will evaluate requests, if any, with respect to refunds. »


Daniel Seligman is Artistic Director of Pop Montreal, an event closely associated with Arcade Fire since its inception. For him, it would be very surprising if the tour was cancelled. “There are millions invested in that, it is impossible. Even if the band themselves decided to cancel, they could be sued! »

He understands that fans are upset, but he thinks there are plenty of other ways to make it known. “You can boycott the band, go to the concert and yell at them… Look at Feist, he’s going to donate all the money from his merchandise sales to a women’s aid organization in Dublin. »

He admits it, he too is upset about the revelations he read on Pitchfork. Especially because he was predictable, because of the culture that reigns in the music industry.

This rock star lifestyle… You can’t treat people like that, you have to treat them with respect and dignity. The problem is that they are surrounded by people who close their eyes, who cover themselves, who let things happen, who are afraid to say anything.

Daniel Seligman, artistic director of Pop Montreal

It was during a 2016 event hosted by Pop Montreal, Pop vs Jock, a fundraiser for a basketball organization the group had participated in for years, that Win Butler reportedly met one of the four people who spoke to Pitchfork. Reading this information hurt Daniel Seligman a lot.

“It is difficult to hear that he used his coming to target an 18-year-old girl. »

It was also the last time that Pop Montreal collaborated with the group that grew up with it: it was the festival that presented Arcade Fire’s free big show in 2011 at the Place des Festivals, after their Grammy win.


Arcade Fire during their big show at the Place des Festivals presented as part of Pop Montreal in 2011

“We have a long history with the band, we’ve done great things,” says Daniel Seligman. But the last time the relationship was not very good. People did not feel well, there were abuses of language. This is not what we want as an organization. We felt that it was no longer a good fit, so we decided not to work with them anymore. »

with the Canadian press

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