Pitchfork Publishes Account Of 5th Person Alleging Arcade Fire’s Win Butler Of ‘Manipulative, Toxic Behavior’

The band’s frontman was accused of alleged sexual misconduct by four people in August.

By Andy Kahn Nov 22, 2022 11:46 am PST

A fifth person has come forward alleging “manipulative, toxic” behavior by Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler. The new allegations published by Pitchfork follow a report the website published in August with allegations of sexual misconduct against Butler from four people.

According to Pitchfork’s latest article, a woman using the pseudonym “Sabina” provided evidence through text messages, diary entries and other items supporting her allegations of Butler’s “manipulative, toxic” behavior. Witnesses were also interviewed to further corroborate Sabina’s statements. Pitchfork reached out to representatives of Butler for comments on Sabina’s allegations, but did not receive an on-the-record response prior to publication.

The Pitchfork article states “Sabina is unequivocal in her characterization of the alleged interactions.” According to the report, Sabina stated:

“It was an ongoing abusive relationship. Emotionally abusive, manipulative, toxic, and using his power dynamic to exploit my body at times that were convenient for him. He met me when I was so vulnerable.”

In August, Pitchfork shared the accounts of four people who accused Butler of sexual misconduct between 2016 and 2020. Pitchfork reported three of the accusers alleged “Butler used his status as a famous musician to pressure them into sexual encounters either in person or over the phone,” while “the fourth person, who is gender fluid, described two instances of alleged sexual assault involving unwanted kissing and touching.”

Pitchfork also reported that following the article published in August, “a Canadian lawmaker called for those who believe Butler victimized them to file formal complaints,” though no public announcement has been made pertaining to any filed complaints.

Shortly after the allegations were published in August, fellow Canadian musician Feist canceled her appearances supporting Arcade Fire on their tour of Europe. Prior to the start of Arcade Fire’s current tour of North America, opening act Beck announced his departure from the tour.

Butler responded to the allegations that surfaced in August, stating at the time:

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.

Butler’s wife and Arcade Fire bandmate Régine Chassagne also shared a response to the allegations in August. According to Pitchfork, Chassagne stated:

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.

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