Could the accusations leveled against Arcade Fire’s frontman derail a momentum that has seemed unstoppable since the release of the band’s debut album, funeral, in 2004? Mainly led by the duo of singers and multi-instrumentalists Win Butler and Régine Chassagne (also married), the promising young collective of the mid-2000s transformed itself over the years into a efficient indie-rock machine capable of filling Zenith and Arena, even stadiums.
Their world tour will start on Tuesday August 30, in Dublin (Ireland), with four dates scheduled in France in September. It is in this context that the leader of the group, Win Butler, finds himself at the center of accusations of mixing influence and inappropriate sexual behavior of some of his fans, including sexual assault against a these people.
The influential American music site Pitchfork – which greatly contributed to the emergence and popularity of the group – published an article on Saturday August 27, which brought many testimonies highlighting some of the actions of the main Canadian songwriter group privacy and online. The media was able to consult screenshots of messages exchanged via SMS as well as on the Instagram social network between Analyst of Arcade Fire and the four declared victims, and interviewed several relatives who were aware of the allegations related to the events that allegedly took place between 2015 and 2020. Following the request of the four fans interviewed , their testimony is anonymous and The world cannot consult them. Pitchfork did not specify whether one or more complaints were filed.
“I opened my door and he pushed me against the wall”
A non-binary man accused Win Butler of sexually assaulting him twice in 2015, when they were 21 and 34. The declared facts allegedly happened in a car and then in the victim’s apartment, while it sent several messages asking the singer not to go there. “I opened my door and he slammed me against the wall and aggressively grabbed my body and put his tongue in my mouth”, says “Lily” to journalist Marc Hogan, author of the article. An accusation that the singer rejected in a press release sent to the American media: ” When [Lily] opened the door, we immediately started kissing… I don’t remember who initiated it, but it was each other. »
“Stella” contacted the singer on the Instagram social network in 2016
Three women also reported having sex with Mr. Butler, which they considered inappropriate because of the difference in age, their individual status and the circumstances in which they happened. At the age of 18 at the time of the reported events, “Stella” was contacted by the singer on the Instagram social network in 2016 after posting photos taken of him in a love affair. After giving themselves their phone numbers, the singer would have encouraged her to write to him then send her photos of her sex, pictures that Stella did not ask for.
Two fans, 20 and 23, ‘Sarah’ and ‘Fiona’ shared Win Butler’s compelling requests for sex videos in 2017 and 2018. “Certain sexual poses and acts, spoken words, clothes or sex toys that he encourages her to buy”writes on a particular music site.
Alcoholism, abuse and excuses
Contacted by Pitchfork, Win Butler confirmed that there were extramarital affairs with the four fans in question, but assured that they were approved. Supported by crisis communication expert Risa Heller, the singer then published a second press release in which he repeatedly apologized, talking about a time when he struggled with depression and “ghosts of childhood abuse” and fell into alcoholism. “I am truly sorry for those I hurt with my behavior.wrote the Arcade Fire co-founder. I continue to learn from my mistakes and try to be a better person. »
The fans interviewed by Pitchfork were between the ages of 18 and 23 at the start of their relationship with the singer. He was then between 34 and 39 years old. “I didn’t realize the importance of the age difference at the time”defended the artist in his statement, before continuing: “If I remember who I was at the age of 18, I can see now how heavy it was, but at the time I didn’t understand it. »
In another press release, his wife Régine Chassagne supported Win Butler – who confirmed that she was in an open relationship with the latter. The Canadian singer described the Californian artist, whom he knew “Since twenty years”like his “soul mate, [son] songwriting partner, [son] husband, father [son] beautiful child”. “I know what’s in his heart, and I know he doesn’t and he can’t touch a woman without her permission, and I’m sure he doesn’t”wrote the group’s co-founder. “He was lost and found his way”he concluded.