Arcade Fire’s Win Butler accused of sexual misconduct
Win Butler, the frontman of Grammy-winning Canadian rock band Arcade Fire, has been accused of sexual misconduct by four people.
Three of the accusers are women who say they are « devoted » fans of the band and claim the misconduct happened between 2016 and 2020 when they were between 18 and 23 and Butler was between 36 and 39. A fourth accuser, who identifies as gender fluid, alleges Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015, when they were 21 and he was 34, according to a Pitchfork report.
Butler has been married to Arcade Fire member Regine Chassagne since 2003.
Butler denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, saying he had « consensual relationships outside of my marriage, » according to statements he provided to Pitchfork.
The accusers, who were identified by pseudonyms in the article, said Butler first contacted them via social media before meeting them in person, then asked for nude photos and sex. One of the women told Pitchfork that « Butler sent her pictures of her genitals against her wishes. »
Another woman described that after first connecting with Butler on Instagram after an Arcade Fire concert in Montreal, the two engaged in ‘sexting and video calling’ before having sex . However, following a sexual encounter in her room in Vancouver before a concert in October 2017, this person told Pitchfork that she had attempted suicide. “I felt incredibly weak,” she said. « The price of keeping everything secret, constantly pushing my needs away to appease her, the lack of boundaries and the guilt of being the other woman was becoming too hard to ignore. »
Butler acknowledged he knew about her suicide attempt, but said she told him « it wasn’t related to me, she was mentally ill, » according to the report. « It was absolutely related to him, » she replied.
The gender-fluid individual, a 21-year-old art student at the time, said he met Butler in January 2015 when the band were playing in Montreal. The two exchanged contact details and met in February, where they allege Butler touched them inappropriately without their consent. Two days later, he showed up at their apartment, where « he slammed me against the wall and aggressively grabbed my body and stuck his tongue down my throat, » they said. « It was an attempt to be sexy, and it really wasn’t OK in the context. »
In her statement, Butler called her marriage “unconventional” and said relationships with the four accusers were “short-lived,” adding that “each of these interactions was mutual and always between consenting adults.”
« I have never touched a woman against her will, and any involvement I have is simply untrue. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. This , simply and unequivocally, never happened,” he said.
Butler sent a second statement to Pitchfork in which he admitted to having suffered from depression and alcohol.
« I have long struggled with mental health issues and the ghosts of child abuse. In my thirties, I started drinking when I was dealing with the most severe depression of my life after our family had a miscarriage None of this is meant to excuse my behavior, but I want to give some context and share what was going on in my life at that time.
Chassagne, for her part, is at her husband’s side.
Butler, she said in a statement to Pitchfork, is “my soul mate, my songwriting partner, my husband, the father of my beautiful boy. He has been my partner in life and in music for 20 years. She went on to say: ‘I know what’s in his heart, and I know he has never touched and never would touch a woman without her consent and I’m sure he hasn’t. never done. He lost his way and he found his way. I love him and I love the life we’ve created together.
Laura Eldeiry, Butler’s publicist, declined to comment beyond statements Butler and Chassagne made to Pitchfork.
Arcade Fire, now a five-piece band fronted by the husband-and-wife duo, earned early acclaim for their serious, anthemic rock. After leaving Montreal’s bustling indie scene in the mid-2000s, the band became a critical favorite and one of the biggest rock bands of the past two decades. They won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011 for their third album, « The Suburbs », and headlined the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in 2014. The band returned to Coachella this year with a surprise set at the start of the day promoting his latest album « Nous ».
On Saturday, the band are still set to kick off a European arena tour on Tuesday, with two nights at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., in November.
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