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Arcade Fire Frontman Accused Of Sexual Misconduct By Several People, Allegations He Denies
Arcade Fire's Win Butler wrote a lengthy response to accusations that he preyed on younger victims.
The lead singer of Indie-rock band Arcade Fire has been accused by four people of sexual misconduct, according to a report.
Frontman Win Butler, 42, is the subject of a wave of sexual abuse claims that allegedly took place between 2016 and 2020, according to a report published by Pitchfork. The accusations come from three women and one gender-fluid accuser (who uses they/them pronouns), all of whom were in their late teens and early 20s when Butler was in his 30s.
The three women, known only by their pseudonyms Stella, Sarah, and Fiona, say this age gap contributed to a power dynamic. All three were fans of the band Arcade Fire, which was founded by Butler and his wife, Régine Chassagne.
A fourth person, known only as “Lily,” said Butler sexually assaulted them on two occasions in 2015.
In his defense, Win Butler said each of the alleged encounters was consensual, as put forth in a lengthy statement published by Pitchfork.
“Today, I want to clear the air about my life, poor judgment, and mistakes I have made,” Butler stated. “I have had consensual relationships outside my marriage.”
Lily, then-21, described to the online music publication that they first met Butler in 2015 following a concert in Montreal. The pair allegedly exchanged texts before meeting for dinner about one month later, when Lily claims Butler grabbed their crotch while in the car.
Butler said he only touched their inner thigh and that, when asked, he removed his hand and dropped Lily off at their residence. Both agreed to sharing a goodnight kiss, and though Butler said it was consensual, Lily said it was not.
“I did not ask for it,” Lily stated. “I did not reciprocate.”
Lily said three days later, Butler allegedly showed up at their apartment before pinning them against the wall and began “aggressively grabbing” their body. Lily said Butler forced them onto his lap as he sat on the couch and allegedly put his hands down Lily’s pants before they demanded Butler leave.
“I did express some genuine confusion as to how the mood had shifted so suddenly and became awkward,” Butler wrote in his defense. “I said it was no big deal at all. I stopped, and I left.”
Lily admitted to texting Butler an apology, and Butler reportedly thought nothing of the encounter. Lily said it was in hindsight that they viewed the alleged incidents as sexual assault.
“Stella” was next to come forward after she and Butler allegedly exchanged sexually explicit texts after meeting in 2016 over Instagram (Stella had photographed Butler and his wife at a charity event and posted the photo to her social media). The then 18-year-old allegedly met Butler in person at a bar owned by Butler and Chassagne and continued corresponding.
Stella told friends Butler was persistent in trying to obtain nudes while she also on the receiving end of photos of Butler’s genitalia.
Butler admitted to sending the sexts but said he was “drunk” and had “misread” the situation, according to Pitchfork.
Sarah, then-23, and Fiona, then-20, who identified themselves as fans of Arcade Fire, separately said they’d reached out to Butler on Instagram before Butler allegedly began demanding videos of a sexual nature.
“I did everything because it was him,” Sarah told Pitchfork. “I remember being so nervous and so ashamed that I did it.”
Sarah’s mother told the outlet that the alleged encounters resulted in Sarah’s "spiraling” depression.
Butler stated Sarah was part of an “unhealthy fandom,” accusing the woman of showing up at all his events and places of work before he had to warn security.
Butler claimed something similar with Fiona, noting it felt “a little weird” when he saw she had a tattoo of the band. Butler admitted to having multiple sexual encounters with Fiona but said it was entirely consensual.
Fiona told Pitchfork she felt “incredibly low” after one of the sexual encounters, resulting in her allegedly attempting suicide by swallowing extra-strength Tylenol.
“The toll of having to keep everything secret, constantly pushing my needs aside in order to appease him, lack of boundaries, and the guilt of being the other woman was getting too hard to ignore,” Fiona said.
Butler recalled a conversation (which Fiona denied) in which he said Fiona claimed the “depression was not related to me,” according to Pitchfork.
“I have 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 favors. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened,” Butler wrote in his statement. “While these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behavior. Life is filled with tremendous pain and error, and I never want to be part of causing someone else’s pain.”
Butler also discussed his long-time struggles with “mental health issues and the ghosts of childhood abuse” and the work he’s allegedly put into working on himself, including Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and therapy.
His wife, Régine Chassagne, also released a statement, discussing how the pair knew one another long before fame.
“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,” she stated. “He has lost his way, and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together.”