Arcade Fire founder Win Butler responds to allegations of alleged sexual misconduct

Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Win Butler – who co-founded the indie/art rock ensemble Arcade fire in 2001 – has been accused of sexually assaulting four women. However, Butler has denied all charges.

As extensively reported by Fork:

Three women made allegations [in recent months] of sexual interactions with Butler that they came to feel were inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics and context in which they occurred. All three women were devoted Arcade Fire fans between the ages of 18 and 23 at the start of their interactions with Butler, which took place in overlapping periods from 2016 to 2020, when he was between 36 and 39. A fourth person, who is gender -fluid and using they/them pronouns, allege Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015, when they were 21 and he was 34.

Cumulatively, these violations are said to have occurred via cell phone texts and Instagram messages, as well as during various in-person encounters (including at restaurants/bars, in a car ride, and at least one accuser’s apartment).

The allegations by Butler’s accusers include aggressive and unwanted physical touching, sexting without consent or reciprocity and alleged requests for increasingly explicit sexual videos, according to the accounts shared with Fork.

In response, Fork adds, Butler’s first written statement, “admitted to having sexual interactions with each of the four individuals, but maintained that they were consensual and not initiated by him.” Soon after, Butler released another statement:

I love Régine [Chassagne, wife and bandmate] with all 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, bad judgment and mistakes I’ve made.

I have had consensual affairs outside my marriage.

There is no easy way to say this and the hardest thing I have ever done is having to share this with my son. Most of these relationships were short lived and my wife is aware – our marriage has been more unconventional than some in the past. I’ve connected with people in person, at shows and through social media, and I’ve shared messages I’m not proud of. Most importantly, each and every one of these interactions has been mutual and always between consenting adults. It is profoundly 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. I strongly deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. It simply and unequivocally never happened.

Although these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone whom I have hurt with my behavior. Life is full of immense pain and mistakes, and I will never be a part of causing anyone else’s pain.

I have long struggled with mental health issues and ghosts from childhood abuse. In my 30s, I started drinking when I was dealing with the worst depression of my life after our family had a miscarriage. None of this is meant to excuse my behavior, but I do want to provide some context and share what was happening in my life around this time. I no longer recognized myself or the person I had become. Régine waited patiently, watched me suffer and tried to help me as best she could. I know it must have been so hard for her to see the person she loved lose so much.

I have worked hard on myself – not out of fear or shame, but because I am a person who wants to improve despite my flaws and injuries. I have spent the last few years since Covid hit trying to save that part of my soul. I have devoted considerable time and energy to therapy and healing, including attending AA. I am now more aware of how my public persona can distort relationships, even if a situation feels friendly and positive to me. I am very grateful to Régine, my family, my dear friends and my therapist, who have helped me back from the abyss that I was sure would swallow me up at times. The bond I share with my bandmates and the incredibly deep connection I’ve made with an audience through sharing music has literally saved my life.

As I look to the future, I continue to learn from my mistakes and work hard to become a better person, someone my son can be proud of. I say to all my friends, family, to anyone I’ve 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 attuned to the effect I have on people – I fucked up and while that’s no excuse, I’ll continue to watch move forward and heal what can be healed and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better.

In addition, Chassagne issued the following statement:

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 despite all the love in our lives, I have also seen him suffer tremendous pain. I’ve stood by him because I know he’s 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 regular college students. I know what’s in his heart and I know he never has and never would touch a woman without her consent and I’m sure he never has. He has lost weight and he has gained it back. I love him and I love the life we ​​have created together.

To date, Arcade Fire has released six studio LPs, such as 2022’s We and 2011’s Grammy-winning Suburbs. The band has also been particularly involved in activist activities, including efforts to raise money and awareness for Haiti (Chassagne is of Haitian descent).

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are resources available to help. Visit the RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) website or call 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Resource information is provided free of charge as well as a chat messaging service. To speak directly with a professional, call 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and there is help available. Every life is important.

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