Artist News

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler denies sexual misconduct

By | Published on Tuesday 30 August 2022

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against him by four people. Three women say that he engaged in “inappropriate” relationships with them, while a fourth person, who is gender fluid, alleges that he sexually assaulted them twice.

The accusations were made in a detailed report published by Pitchfork last week, with the three women – all of whom met Butler though being fans of Arcade Fire – saying that they had sexual interactions with him during various periods between 2016 and 2020, while they were aged between eighteen and 23 and he was in his late 30s.

Subsequently, says Pitchfork, “they came to feel” that those interactions “were inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred”.

The fourth person says that Butler assaulted them twice in 2015, once while travelling in a car and a second time at their home, when they were 21 and he was 34.

Pitchfork says that it has viewed screenshots of text and Instagram messages confirming the relationships, and interviewed family members of the accusers who recalled being told about the incidents at the time they occurred.

In a statement, issued through a crisis PR rep, Butler did not deny that any of the relationships had occurred, but said that all had been “consensual”, and that his wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne had been aware of them. However, he added that, after spending “the last few years” in therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous, he had become “more aware now of how my public persona can distort relationships even if a situation feels friendly and positive to me”.

“I love Régine with all of my heart”, he said. “We have been together for 20 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. I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage”.

“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 added. “I have connected with people in person, at shows, and through social media, and I have shared messages of which I am not proud”.

However, he was keen to stress, “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”.

“I have never touched a woman against her will, and any implication that I have is simply false”, he insisted. “I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favours. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened”.

Nevertheless, he concluded: “While these relationships were all consensual, I am 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 her own statement, Chassagne said: “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. 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”.

“I’ve known Win since before we were ‘famous’, when we were just ordinary college students”, she added. “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”.

Arcade Fire released their sixth album, ‘We’, earlier this year, and are set to begin a run of UK and Ireland tour dates in Dublin tonight.