Win Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire, has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
According to a detailed report published by Pitchfork on Saturday, August 27, the 42-year-old musician allegedly engaged in “inappropriate” relationships with three separate women, given their differences in age and power dynamics. A fourth alleged victim, who identifies as gender-fluid, claimed that Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015.
A spokesperson for the “Ready to Start ” singer, crisis public relations expert Risa Heller, told the outlet that Butler admitted that each sexual interaction was mutual but was not initiated by the musical artist.
“I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage,” Butler told Pitchfork in a statement on Saturday. “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 [Régine Chassagne] is aware – our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some. … 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.”
The alleged victims who came forward told Pitchfork that they were each passionate Arcade Fire fans and claimed they had exchanged inappropriate messages with Butler before meeting in person.
The California native, for his part, noted via his statement that he has “never touched a woman against her will,” refuting the allegations. “I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors,” he said. “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.”
Butler wed the 46-year-old Canadian singer — with whom he shares 9-year-old son Edwin — in 2003.
“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,” he continued in his statement. “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.”
He added: “While these relationships were all consensual, I am very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behavior. 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’m sorry I wasn’t more aware and tuned in to the effect I have on people — I f—ked up, and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed, and learn from past experiences.”
Chassagne, via Heller, also spoke out on her spouse’s behalf.
“Win is my soulmate, my songwriting partner, my husband, the father of my beautiful boy,” the pianist — who cofounded Arcade Fire alongside Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara — said in a statement to Pitchfork, which was published on Saturday. “He has been my partner in life and in music for 20 years. And for all of the love in our lives, I have also watched him suffer through immense pain. I have stood by him because I know he is a good man who cares about this world, our band, his fans, friends and our family.”
She added: “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. He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.