Four people have accused Arcade Fire’s frontman, Win Butler, of sexual misconduct.
Three women came forward telling Pitchfork that they felt as though the incidents with Butler were “inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred.” The fourth person, who is gender-fluid, claimed that they were sexually assaulted twice by the lead singer.
The victims were all devoted fans of the Canadian indie rock band when the encounters occurred between 2015 to 2020. They ranged from ages 18 to 23 when each of their interactions began with Butler, whom was between 36 and 39 at the time.
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Butler has since responded to the allegations in a lengthy statement, claiming that he engaged in “consensual relationships outside of [his] marriage” to wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne.
“I love Régine with all of my heart. We have been together for twenty years, she is my partner in music and in life, my soulmate and I am lucky and grateful to have her by my side. But at times, it has been difficult to balance being the father, husband, and bandmate that I want to be. Today I want to clear the air about my life, poor judgment, and mistakes I have made,” Butler began his statement.
“I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage,” he continued.
“There is no easy way to say this, and the hardest thing I have ever done is having to share this with my son. The majority of these relationships were short lived, and my wife is aware – our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some,” he said. “I have connected with people in person, at shows, and through social media, and I have shared messages of which I am not proud. Most importantly, every single one of these interactions has been mutual and always between consenting adults. It is deeply revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for anyone to suggest otherwise.”
Butler goes on to say that he’s “never touched a woman against her will, and any implication that I have is simply false. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favours. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened.”
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He adds that the “relationships were all consensual” and that he’s “very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour. Life is filled with tremendous pain and error, and I never want to be part of causing someone else’s pain.”
In his statement, Butler speaks about his long struggle with mental health issues and “the ghosts of childhood abuse.”
“In my 30s, I started drinking as I dealt with the heaviest depression of my life after our family experienced a miscarriage,” he explained. “None of this is intended to excuse my behaviour, but I do want to give some context and share what was happening in my life around this time…”
“I say to you all my friends, family, to anyone I have hurt and to the people who love my music and are shocked and disappointed by this report: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the pain I caused – I’m sorry I wasn’t more aware and tuned in to the effect I have on people – I f**ked up, and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed, and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better,” he said.
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Chassagne, who married Butler in 2003, also spoke out on the incident.
“Win is my soulmate, my songwriting partner, my husband, the father of my beautiful boy. He has been my partner in life and in music for 20 years. And for all of the love in our lives, I have also watched him suffer through immense pain,” she shared.
“I have stood by him because I know he is a good man who cares about this world, our band, his fans, friends, and our family,” the singer and multi-instrumentalist continued. “I’ve known Win since before we were ‘famous,’ when we were just ordinary college students. I know what is in his heart, and I know he has never, and would never, touch a woman without her consent and I am certain he never did. He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together.”