A shirtless woman stole the Junos stage at Rogers Place for a few minutes Monday evening before being escorted away by security.
Around half an hour into the televised broadcast for Canada’s biggest awards in music, musician Avril Lavigne was on stage to introduce the next performer, rapper and hip hop artist AP Dhillon.
“I will always remember my first Junos 20 years ago,” Lavigne said. “And so much has changed since then, but one thing that will never change is how incredible of an experience it is to perform in front of Junos fans.”
As the topless woman entered the stage behind Lavigne, the televised feed quickly cut away so that the streaker was out of frame.
But a number of attendees in the audience at Rogers Place saw and taped the entire incident.
The woman appeared to have words scrawled across her upper body and torso, with a portion saying “Land back.”
An image of the streaker that stormed the Juno stage and taping in Edmonton on Monday, March 13, 2023 (Supplied).
Lavigne told the woman, “Get the f**k off,” as the arena crowd cheered and security guards came on stage. It took security almost a minute to respond.
As the broadcast concluded, host Simu Liu congratulated all the award winners and nominees and said, “Sorry for the boobs.”
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) said the Juno Awards celebrates the country’s music and the artists that create it.
“We take every step to avoid interruptions to our program, but there are always risks with live events and broadcasts,” the CARAS statement read.
“We hope tonight’s brief disruption doesn’t take away from the accomplishments of this year’s performers, winners and nominees.”
‘SHE JUST KEPT FIGHTING THROUGH’
Audience member Jennie Marshall said Lavigne did “a great job handling” the protest.
“There’s always a place and a time for protesting,” Marshall said. “I don’t think the Junos was it.
“I will say unless you were right on the floor or maybe at home, we don’t know what she was protesting. We were pretty close, but we still have no idea what the protest was about.”
James Beaudry who was also in the crowd, commended Lavigne for keeping her cool.
“It was a good chuckle,” he said.
“Honestly, I would’ve acted the same way,” said Grace Skoke, another attendee, when asked about the incident.
“It’s for families and stuff. Keep the boobies for other audiences.”
Audience member Alishah Qassamali agreed, saying, “It was not OK.”
“I think she [Lavigne] did a fantastic job,” Qassamali added. “She addressed it and she just kept fighting through.”