Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has been accused of sexual harassment by four people, according to a detailed report in Pitchfork. Three women claim the encounters were “inappropriate given the age gap, power dynamics and context in which they occurred,” while a fourth person, who is transgender, claims Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015.
Butler – who formed the band in 2001 with Regine Chassagne, now his wife – admitted the meetings but disputes the accounts, saying through a spokesman they were consensual. Statements from Butler and Chassagne appear below. in touch with Variety on Saturday, a spokesman for the band said there was no further comment.
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The three women, who were all die-hard Arcade Fire fans, say they “came to feel [their sexual interactions with Butler] were inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics and the context in which they occurred.’ They say the interactions began when he was between 18 and 23 years old and took place in overlapping periods from 2016 to 2020, when he was between 36 and 39 years old.
The fourth person claims Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015, when she was 21 and he was 34: Once while they were riding in a car together and again after he allegedly showed up at their apartment despite text messages asking him not to does. So. Pitchfork says it has seen screenshots of text and Instagram messages between them and Butler, and interviewed friends and family members who said they remember being told about the alleged incidents. All four people use pseudonyms on the account.
Butler, who responded through crisis public relations agent Riza Heller, acknowledged that he had sexual interactions with each of the four individuals, but maintained that they were consensual and not initiated by him. Through Heller, Butler even offered to put Pitchfork in touch with different women who had had consensual sexual experiences with him in the past. Detailed accounts of the interactions and Butler’s full statement can be found on Pitchfork.
His statement read in part: “I love Rezin 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 sometimes, it’s been hard to balance being the father, husband and partner I want to be. Today I want to clarify my life, my bad judgment and the mistakes I have made.
“I had consensual relationships outside of marriage.
“There’s no easy way to say this, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done is share it with my son. The majority of these relationships were short-lived, and my wife knows – our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some. 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 of these interactions was mutual and always between consenting adults. It is deeply revisionist, and frankly wrong, to suggest otherwise.
“I have never touched a woman against her will, and any implication I have is simply false. I categorically deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or asked for sexual favors. This simply, and undeniably, never happened. Although all of these relationships were consensual, I am deeply sorry for anyone I hurt with my behavior. Life is filled with tremendous pain and mistakes, and I never want to be a part of causing someone else’s pain.
“I have long struggled with mental health issues and the specters of childhood abuse. In my 30s, I started drinking as I was dealing with the worst depression of my life after our family’s 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 during this time…
“To all my friends, family, anyone I’ve hurt, and the people who love my music and are shocked and disappointed by this report, I’m saying: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused – I’m sorry I wasn’t more aware and attuned to the effect I have on people – I fucked up, and while it’s no excuse, I’ll continue to look forward and heal they can heal and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better.”
The spokesperson also provided a written statement from Chassagne in support of Butler’s perspective, which reads in full:
“Win is my soulmate, my singing partner, my husband, the father of my beautiful boy. He has been my partner in life and music for 20 years. And for all the love in our lives, I’ve also watched him suffer tremendous pain. I’ve stood by him because I know he’s a good person who cares about this world, our band, his fans, friends and family. I’ve known Win since before we were “famous”, when we were just college students. I know what’s in his heart and I know he has never and will never touch a woman without her consent and I’m sure he never did. He has lost his way and found his way back. I love him and I love the life we created together.”
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