Arcade Fire singer/guitarist Win Butler has been accused of sexual misconduct by four people for incidents that allegedly took place between 2015-2020. In a report published by Pitchfork, the accusers are said to be three women and another person who is gender fluid, all of whom claim Butler had an inappropriate sexual relationship with them. Butler has been married to fellow Arcade Fire member Régine Chassagne since 2003.
At the time of the encounters, the three women were between 18-23, while Butler was between 34 and 39. The gender-fluid accuser was 21 when they say Butler, 34 at the time, sexually assaulted them twice: once when they were riding in a car together and another when he allegedly showed up at their apartment despite being told not to do so in text messages. Pitchfork says it viewed screenshots of text and Instagram messages between Butler and the victims and that it spoke with the victims’ friends and family members who were told about the alleged incidents.
The three women said they were “devoted Arcade Fire fans” and that they felt the encounters with Butler were inappropriate “given the gaps in age, power dynamics and context in which they occurred.”
In a statement given to Pitchfork through a crisis PR rep, Butler admitted he had sexual interactions with the four people, but that they were consensual and he did not initiate them. In a second statement, Butler said he was depressed and drinking, and dealing with mental health issues. He admits to having an extramarital affair and offered to put Pitchfork in touch with different women with whom he had consensual sexual relationships.
Here’s Butler’s statement to Pitchfork in full:
I love Régine with all of 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, poor judgment, and mistakes I have made.
I have had consensual relationships outside of 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. The majority of these relationships were short lived, and my wife is aware – our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some. I have connected with people in person, at shows, and through social media, and I have shared messages of which I am not proud. 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. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened.
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.
I have long struggled with mental health issues and the ghosts of childhood abuse. In my 30s, I started drinking as I dealt with the heaviest depression of my life after our family experienced a miscarriage. None of this is intended to excuse my behavior, but I do want to give 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 watching me suffer and tried to help me as best as she could. I know it must have been so hard for her to watch the person she loved so lost.
I have been working hard on myself – not out of fear or shame, but because I am a human being who wants to improve despite my flaws and damage. I’ve spent the last few years since Covid hit trying to save that part of my soul. I have put significant time and energy into therapy and healing, including attending AA. I am more aware now 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 felt certain at times would consume me. 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 am continuing to learn from my mistakes and working hard to become a better person, someone my son can be proud of. I say to you all my friends, family, to anyone I have 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 tuned in to the effect I have on people – I fucked up, and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed, and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better.
In a statement of her own, Chassagne said she has “stood by [Butler] because I know he is a good man who cares about this world, our band, his fans, friends, and our family.” Continuing, she said Butler had “lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together.”
A rep for Arcade Fire told SPIN that there would be no further comment on the situation. The band is scheduled to begin an extensive world tour Aug. 30 in Dublin in support of its latest album, WE.