Avril Lavigne Confronts Topless Protester at Juno Awards, and The Weeknd Becomes Second Most-Awarded Artist

Avril Lavigne Confronts Topless Protester at Juno Awards

Avril Lavigne encountered a shirtless environmental protester on stage at the Juno Awards, akin to the Brits for Canada. While the singer introduced a performance on Monday, a woman unexpectedly appeared behind her. Her back bore the message “save the green belt,” seemingly referring to a contentious housing development plan by the Ontario government. Lavigne tried to complete her speech before confronting the woman.

According to CBC News, Lavigne told the woman to “Get the [expletive] off” and swiped at her chest. A security guard then escorted the protester off stage. The pop-rock artist humorously mentioned the intrusion during her later acceptance speech. “Now, nobody try anything this time. I’ll [mess a woman] up,” she quipped while receiving the TikTok Juno fan choice award.

Related: Avril Lavigne biography

Simu Liu, Shang-Chi actor and ceremony host applauded Lavigne’s handling of the “topless lady.” In November, the Ontario government decided to remove 7,400 acres of protected Greenbelt land for housing, with plans for 50,000 new homes by 2025. This move, criticized by environmental groups, is under investigation by the province’s auditor general and integrity commissioner.

That night, The Weeknd became the second most-awarded Juno artist of all time. His album, Dawn FM, earned him his 22nd Juno award, surpassing Celine Dion and Bryan Adams. Only Anne Murray holds more, with 24 awards. The musician, born Abel Tesfaye, was absent from the event, drawing jeers from the crowd at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

Meanwhile, Nickelback, whose lead singer Chad Kroeger was once married to Lavigne, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Kroeger referenced the band’s origins in Hanna, a small town southeast of Edmonton. “We had no idea what we were doing and most of the time still don’t,” he said. “But everything we did wound up leading us to this moment right here. But we didn’t make it here without a lot of help.” The band closed the show with performances of Rockstar, How You Remind Me, and Animals.