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Canadian Radio Stations Pull Arcade Fire’s Music in Light of Win Butler Allegations

Four individuals have accused Butler of sexual misconduct

arcade fire radio stations canadian indie rock win butler sexual assault misconduct allegations
Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, photo by Philip Cosores

    Some Canadian radio stations are pulling Arcade Fire’s music from the airwaves since frontman Win Butler was accused of sexual misconduct by four people last weekend.

    A representative for the CBC told Ottawa City News that they will “pause” playing Arcade Fire on its CBC Music FM radio station, as well as the SiriusXM CBC Radio 3 station, until they “learn more about the situation.”

    Ian March, program director at the Toronto indie rock station Indie88, said they made “a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band’s music,” though they have “not yet had a fulsome internal conversation about the permanence of this decision.”

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    Representatives at Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Communications — three of Canada’s major radio broadcasters with stations that play Arcade Fire — did not immediately respond to Ottawa City News’ request for comment.

    On August 27th, Pitchfork published a detailed report about the accusations against Butler. The alleged misconduct took place between 2015 and 2020, when the victims ranged in age between 18 and 23 and Butler was between 36 and 39. Pitchfork viewed screenshots of messages shared between Butler and the victims, and also spoke to friends and family members who recalled being told about the incidents.

    Despite the allegations, however, Arcade Fire continued their tour in support of their recent album WE in Dublin, Ireland last night. Fans in attendance said the band received a “rapturous applause,” and Butler also mingled with fans before the show. Meanwhile, opening act Feist donated all her merch proceeds for the evening to Women’s Aid Dublin.

    In a written statement to Pitchfork, Butler said that while he did have relationships with the four individuals who accused him of misconduct, they were entirely consensual. “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,” he said.
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    Butler contended each allegation with his own recollection of the events, and cited his declining mental health and reliance on alcohol over the period of time the allegations took place. “In my 30s, I started drinking as I dealt with the heaviest depression of my life after our family experienced a miscarriage,” he added. “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.”

    Butler’s wife and Arcade Fire bandmate Régine Chassagne also issued a statement, writing: “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,” she said.

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