Arcade Fire's Win Butler has been accused of sexual misconduct by four people.
The 42-year-old singer is said to have behaved inappropriately between 2015 to 2020 when he was aged 34 to 39 and his alleged victims were between the ages of 18 and 23, but he has insisted the encounters between them were consensual.
A gender-fluid individual who uses they/them pronouns told Pitchfork Butler had sexually assaulted them twice in 2015 when they were 21 years old, while three women told the outlet their encounters with the 'Rebellion (Lies)' hitmaker involved unwanted touching, kissing and photos of genitalia, and were “inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred.”
Butler has issued a lengthy statement in which he told how he was going through a period of depression and drinking heavily at the time, but maintained the "relationships" were consensual and his wife, bandmate Regine Chassagne, is aware of what happened.
He said in a statement: “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."
The singer went on to detail the struggles in his personal life but insisted he wasn't making excuses.
He said: “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…
Butler went on to apologise.
He concluded: “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 f***** 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.”
The 'Ready to Start' singer has the support of his wife, and she is "certain" he hasn't done anything his accusers had not agreed to.
Regine said in her own 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 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. I’ve known Win since before we were ‘famous,’ when we were just ordinary college students.
"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.”