Juno Awards 2023: Avril Lavigne confronts topless protester onstage while The Weeknd wins big

Avril Lavigne confronted a topless environmental protester onstage at the Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Brits.

As the singer introduced a performance at the start of Monday’s ceremony, a woman ran onto the stage behind her.

A message on her back read “save the green belt”, apparently in reference to a controversial housing development plan by the Ontario government.

Lavigne tried to finish her speech before confronting the woman.

“Get the [expletive] off,” she said and swatted at her breast, reported Canada’s CBC News. The woman was then escorted off stage by a security guard.

The pop-rocker alluded to the intruder in her later acceptance speech.

“Now, nobody try anything this time. I’ll [mess a woman] up,” joked Lavigne, while collecting the TikTok Juno fan choice award.

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Avril Lavigne had to deal with a topless environmental protester while onstage at Monday’s Juno Awards

The ceremony’s host, Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu praised Lavigne, who is from Ontario, for “handling that topless lady like a champion”.

In November, the Ontario government issued new regulations to remove 7,400 acres of protected Greenbelt land and open it up for housing, with 50,000 new homes set to be built by 2025.

The move, which has been criticised by environmental groups, is under investigation by the province’s auditor general and integrity commissioner.

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The Weeknd’s hits include I Can’t Feel My Face, Starboy and Blinding Lights

Elsewhere on the night, Toronto singer The Weeknd became the Juno’s second most-honoured artist of all time.

The star won album of the year for Dawn FM – a concept record set in purgatory – earning him his 22nd Juno award, overtaking Celine Dion and Bryan Adams.

Only country-pop singer Anne Murray has more, with 24.

The musician, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, did not attend the event, and his absence reportedly prompted jeers from the crowd at the Rogers Place venue in Edmonton, Alberta.

Meanwhile, rock band Nickelback, whose lead singer Chad Kroeger used to be married to Lavigne, were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the event.

Nickelback performing onstage at the Juno AwardsIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Nickelback performing onstage after being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame

“Twenty seven years, blood sweat and tears, started off 300 kilometres southeast of here in a little town called Hanna,” said Kroeger, referencing the band’s hometown.

“We had no idea what we were doing and most of the time still don’t,” he added. “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.”

They then closed the show by performing their hits Rockstar, How You Remind Me and Animals.

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