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Avril Lavigne confronts topless protester onstage at Juno Awards: ‘Get … off’

March 14, 2023 Updated Tue., March 14, 2023 at 8:44 p.m.

A protester interrupts Avril Lavigne speaking onstage at the 2023 Juno Awards at Rogers Place on Monday in Edmonton, Canada.  (Tribune News Service)
A protester interrupts Avril Lavigne speaking onstage at the 2023 Juno Awards at Rogers Place on Monday in Edmonton, Canada. (Tribune News Service)
Christi Carras Los Angeles Times

Avril Lavigne confronted an environmental protester onstage at the 2023 Juno Awards after the topless demonstrator interrupted the singer in the middle of Monday’s telecast.

The “Complicated” hitmaker was introducing performer AP Dhillon when a member of the audience unexpectedly rushed the stage and began strutting up and down the catwalk at the Rogers Place arena in Edmonton, Canada. At first, Lavigne ignored the protester and continued reading from the teleprompter as if nothing had happened.

But eventually she turned to shoo the demonstrator before a security guard intervened and removed the person from the stage. During the altercation, the cameras repeatedly zeroed in on Lavigne in an attempt to keep the protester out of the frame.

The entire Juno Awards broadcast is now available to stream on YouTube.

The demonstrator was wearing pink pants, a pink bandana and no shirt. Written on the protester’s back, arms and chest were various statements such as “Stop logging old growth now,” “Save the Greenbelt” and “land back.”

The protester appeared to be opposing the Ontario government’s recent decision to repeal environmental protections for approximately 7,400 acres of land along Canada’s Greenbelt in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. According to the CBC, the government’s plan to develop Greenbelt land has been widely criticized by citizens, environmental organizations, agricultural groups and Indigenous communities.

After engaging with the protester onstage, Lavigne alluded to the incident while accepting the fan choice award later in the show.

“Now, nobody try anything this time,” Lavigne joked before launching into her speech.

“I’ve seen the industry change so much, music change, the business change, technology change,” she continued. “Trends come and go. Artists come and go. But the one thing that’s been most consistent for me is my fan base over the last 20 years. Thank you guys so much. I love you.”

While congratulating Lavigne on her win, Marvel actor and Juno host Simu Liu praised the “Girlfriend” artist for “handling that topless lady like a champ.” He also made a classic so-what-did-I-miss joke shortly after the scene unfolded.

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