Win Butler Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Arcade Fire

Win Butler of Arcade Fire has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct:

Numerous people who spoke with Pitchfork in recent months say that Win Butler’s virtuous public reputation is not entirely in line with his offstage behavior. Three women made allegations of sexual interactions with Butler that they came to feel were inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred. All three women were devoted Arcade Fire fans between the ages of 18 and 23 at the start of their interactions with Butler, which took place during overlapping periods from 2016 to 2020, when he was between 36 and 39.

Will Butler Leaves Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Will Butler has left Arcade Fire. He wrote this op-ed in The Atlantic last year:

I have another concern that’s hard to shake. After this pandemic year, I’m more aware of the responsibility I have not only to the people who buy tickets, but to the driver making deliveries to the show and to the family of the woman working arena concessions, people who really don’t care about what I’m doing onstage. Vaccination numbers will grow, and the pandemic will end, God willing. I’m not worried about the spread of the coronavirus in particular. But these links of responsibility remain. The analytical part of my brain turns off when touring starts. Before scrambling back to normalcy, I want to make sure that this sense of connection becomes embedded in how I think. I would really love to just be a musician—but I’m also an employer and a player in an industry that has chewed up and spit out plenty of people, especially in this past year.

My hesitations are all about shows, though, not music. Over the past year, I’ve rarely played music with others—a few practices and filmed performances; work on the new Arcade Fire record in November; a handful of Zooms with bandmates to help a school’s PTA fundraiser or support a candidate in the city-comptroller race. But in all of those instances, I’ve experienced an ease, a rightness to the communication—not through the screen with whoever was listening, necessarily, but the people I was playing with. That connection felt restorative, like having a night of deep sleep that repairs parts of yourself you don’t know how to access.

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Review: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

When Arcade Fire won the Album of the Year Grammy for The Suburbs on February 13, 2011, it was legitimately shocking. Sure, the Grammys, as an institution, are known for weird out-of-left-field choices, particularly in the Album of the Year category, where the favorites (either odds-wise or in terms of public or critical sentiment) regularly lose to something a bit more sentimental (think Green Day, Usher, Alicia Keys, and Kanye West all losing to the late Ray Charles in 2005) or maybe just a bit more white (Beyonce’s self-titled smash losing to an unexceptional late-career Beck album in 2015). But The Suburbs was different. There was no precedent for an indie band taking the top prize. A band hadn’t won the award period since U2 and Dixie Chicks won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. The other contenders were also all gargantuan albums that had spawned at least one ubiquitous, generational hit: Katy Petty’s Teenage Dream, Eminem’s Recovery, Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now. Arcade Fire weren’t nobodies: they’d made arguably the second most acclaimed album of the 2000s with 2004’s Funeral (the first most acclaimed being Radiohead’s Kid A), and The Suburbs had even debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. But next to a gaggle of mainstream hit machines, the Canadian indie rock band didn’t stand a chance.

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