Radio Stations Pull Arcade Fire's Music After Win Butler Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations

·4 min read
win butler, arcade fire
win butler, arcade fire

Phillip Chin/Getty Arcade Fire

Several radio stations in Canada have officially pulled Arcade Fire's music from playlists following allegations of sexual misconduct against Win Butler, which the musician has denied.

Toronto station Indie88 as well as CBC Music's FM station and CiriusXM CBC Radio 3 station released statements this week to announce that airplay of the Canadian rock band's music is paused until further notice, per CBC News.

The decision arrived shortly after Pitchfork published a report on Aug. 29 containing accusations of sexual misconduct by three women and sexual assault by one non-binary individual. Butler, 42, told the outlet each interaction was "consensual."

One day after the Pitchfork story dropped, Ian March, Indie88's program director, told CBC News, "I can confirm that we made a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band's music. We have not yet had a fulsome internal conversation about the permanence of this decision."

CBC's head of public affairs, Chuck Thompson, told the outlet CBC Music has made the same decision. "In light of the recent allegations against Win Butler, CBC Music will pause on playing Arcade Fire's music until we learn more about the situation," he said.

RELATED: Arcade Fire's Win Butler Denies Alleged Sexual Misconduct and Claims Affairs Were 'Consensual'

win butler, arcade fire
win butler, arcade fire

Mark Horton/Getty Win Butler

In addition to the Canadian stations' formal announcements that Arcade Fire's music has been pulled from playlists, Minnesota radio host Bill Childs told CBC News he's observed six United States radio stations that regularly play the band's songs stop doing since the allegations became public.

"I'm always curious about how radio stations respond when core artists of theirs get caught up in allegations of whatever sort," Childs said.

Meanwhile, Arcade Fire embarked on its scheduled WE Tour this week in Dublin, and the band's set to play shows throughout Europe and the UK through October before launching a North American string of concerts.

Speaking to CBC News, longtime fan Kate McCreesh noted that she and her husband had tickets to the tour's Aug. 30 opening night and decided not to go in light of the allegations — even after spending over $260 on the show.

"I just ... can't go and enjoy myself knowing what the accusations are," she told the outlet. "I know there's two sides to every story, but I am choosing to believe."

In the Pitchfork story, three women — all self-described as then-Arcade Fire fans — spoke about several alleged sexual interactions they've deemed "inappropriate" due to the age gap, power shift and other contextual reasons.

According to the accusers, Butler allegedly sent unrequested sexual images and videos to them on multiple occasions and asked for the same from the women.

They claimed the events, which took place from 2016 to 2020, occurred when the women's ages ranged from 18 to 23 and Butler was between ages 36 and 39.

The fourth, nonbinary-identifying accuser, who spoke to Pitchfork under the pseudonym "Lily," claimed they were sexually assaulted by Butler twice in 2015, when they were 21 and he was 34, after meeting at an Arcade Fire concert.

Lily and Butler became friends following the meeting and hung out on multiple occasions, with Lily recounting many of their interactions as "uncomfortable" and Butler claiming they were "mutual" and "flirtatious."

RELATED: Will Butler Confirms Exit from Arcade Fire and Teases Solo Music: 'Time for New Things'

Win Butler and Régine Chassagne
Win Butler and Régine Chassagne

Kevin Winter/Getty Win Butler and Régine Chassagne

After one dinner hangout, Lily alleged Butler touched their crotch in a "very aggressive" manner, though the Grammy winner denied the claim.

Butler — who's married to Arcade Fire bandmate Régine Chassagne — responded to each event with declinations and/or his own recollections, which differed from the accusers', and gave a statement to Pitchfork through crisis publicist expert Risa Heller.

"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," began Butler's 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."

"I have had consensual relationships outside of my marriage," the musician continued. "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."

After detailing his experience with mental health issues, not to "excuse" his behavior but rather "give some context" to his life around the time of the accusers' stories, Butler said, "I am more aware now of how my public persona can distort relationships even if a situation feels friendly and positive to me."

Butler said that going forward, he will keep learning from his mistakes and "working hard to become a better person." He then apologized for his actions.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.