Four people accuse Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler of sexual misconduct

The claims come as the band prepare to play two concerts in Dublin

Win Butler denies the claims, and says the relationships were consensual. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The Arcade Fire singer Win Butler has been accused of sexual misconduct by four people.

An investigation by Pitchfork found four individuals, aged between 18 and 23 years old at the time, who allege the Grammy-winning frontman behaved inappropriately. The three women and one gender-fluid person accuse the singer of taking advantage of his fame and their fandom, including sending unwanted sexual messages, during incidents that occurred between 2015 and 2020, when Butler was between 34 and 39 years old.

Butler, who is due to play two concerts with the band in Dublin this week, at 3Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday, denies the claims. He says the relationships were consensual, adding: “It is deeply revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for anyone to suggest otherwise.”

In a statement, Butler – who is married to bandmate Régine Chassagne – says he was “very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour”.


One of Butler’s accusers, a gender-fluid individual who uses they/them pronouns and is given the pseudonym Lily, says they believed Butler had sexually assaulted them. The three women say their relationships with the singer were inappropriate due to an age gap and unbalanced power dynamics.

Lily says they met Butler at another band’s concert in Montreal at the start of 2015 and alleges that he grabbed their crotch in a car, and at a later meeting pinned them against a wall before “sticking his tongue down my throat”.

Butler says he had touched the person’s thigh in the car and that the second interaction was “definitely mutual”.

A woman given the pseudonym Stella says she first began exchanging messages with Butler in 2016, when she was 18 years old, and that she met him for a drink. She says the singer later began “repeatedly sending her explicit texts without her consent or reciprocation” and she told him they were not wanted.

The singer acknowledged the sexting but said he did not realise the messages were not wanted. He says he did not recognise the significance of the age gap at the time but could now see “how it could be overwhelming”.

Another woman, under the pseudonym Fiona, says she received sexts and video calls from Butler, after they messaged on Instagram following a Arcade Fire concert in Montreal in 2017, when she was 20 years old.

In-person sexual encounters followed, she says. Butler says the relationship was consensual. Fiona says the encounters affected her mental health, and after one encounter she attempted to take her own life because of “the toll of having to keep everything secret, constantly pushing my needs aside in order to appease him, lack of boundaries, and the guilt of being the other woman”.

Butler says Fiona had reached out after a year-long hiatus and wanted to sext again, which she denies. He says she later messaged that the experience had been mentally difficult for her, but in a conversation said her depression was not related to him. In response, Fiona says of her depression: “It was absolutely related to him.”

Another woman, given the pseudonym Sarah, says she was 23 years old in 2018 when she connected with Butler after sending him an Instagram message about her love for his music.

She says he began requesting increasingly explicit sexual videos, which made her “nervous and so ashamed” and that she felt he had used her as an “easy way to get sex over the phone”, adding: “I did everything because it was him.”

Butler says he sexted and talked to Sarah but became “increasingly uncomfortable” because she came to “all his DJ events” and turned up at his restaurant “multiple times”. He says he had told security about her.

Sarah says she had attended two of his DJ nights with friends, and went to his restaurant because her boyfriend worked there and had not been spoken to by security.

In a statement to Pitchfork, a representative for Butler acknowledged having sexual interactions with each of the four people, but said they were not initiated by him and were consensual.

In a further statement, he addressed the details of the allegations and said he had gone through a period of drinking and depression.

He apologised “to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour”, adding: “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.”

In a statement, Chassagne says she was “certain” he had never touched a woman without consent, adding that: “He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together.” – Guardian