Is the Arcade Fire Glasgow Hydro Gig Cancelled: What has Win Butler been accused of, how has he responded, what have Feist and Régine Chassagne said?
Arcade Fire’s UK tour is set to start this week – but allegations of sexual misconduct have shattered the group’s squeaky-clean image.
The claims about lead singer Win Butler were made by four individuals during an investigation by music website Pitchfork.
They were revealed just days before the band were due to arrive in the UK for a tour, starting in Birmingham on Friday, September 2, and including a date at the Glasgow OVO Hydro on Monday, September 5.
And now support act Feist has announced she’s pulling out of her support slot – adding further uncertainty as to whether the tour will go ahead.
Here's everything we know so far.
Who is Win Butler?
Win Butler is a 42-year-old musician who is a founder member of alternative rock band Arcade Fire, who he has fronted since 2001.
He had a Mormon upbringing alongside brother Will, who left the band earlier this year.
His wife is fellow Arcade Fire founder member Régine Chassagne and the couple were married in 2003. They have one son, Edwin Farnham Butler IV, who was born on April 21, 2013.
Arcade Fire released their sixth studio album, ‘We’, earlier this year and it topped the UK album charts.
What are the allegations?
None of those making the allegations – three woman and a person who identifies as genre-fluid – have been named in the story.
The first says that she met the singer for a drink in 2016, when she was 18-years-old, after exchanging text messages. She alleged Butler “repeatedly sent her explicit texts without her consent or reciprocation”.
A second woman also claims that she received explicit texts and calls from Butler after a concert in 2017, before the 20-year-old entered into a sexual relationship with him, which she said affected her mental health 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”.
The third woman met Butler via an Instagram message in 2018 when she was 23-years-old, after which she claims he requested explicit videos which she supplied, saying she “did everything because it was him”.
The final accuser, who uses they/them pronouns, says that they think Butler sexually assaulted them following a concert in Montreal in 2015, grabbing their crotch in a car then forcibly kissing them at a sunsequent meeting.
What has Win Butler said?
In a statement, Win Butler said the following:
“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.”
What has Régine Chassagne said?
Butler’s wife and bandmate gave the following statement:
“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.”
What has Feist said?
Following her decision not to play with Arcade Fire, Feist said the following in a statement on Instagram:
“I was never here to stand for or with Arcade Fire. I was here to stand on my own two feet on a stage, a place I’ve grown to feel I belong and I’ve earned as my own,” Feist said.
“I play for my band, my crew, their loved ones and all of our families, and the people who pay their hard-earned money to share space in the collective synergy that is a show.
“The ebb and flow of my successes, failures, and other decisions affect all of our livelihoods and I recognize how lucky I am to be able to travel the world singing songs about my life, my thoughts and experiences and have that be my career. I’ve never taken that for granted.”
“My experiences include the same experiences as the many people I have spoken to since the news broke on Saturday, and the many strangers whom I may only be able to reach with this letter, or not at all. We all have a story within a spectrum ranging from baseline toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to actually being physically, psychologically, emotionally or sexually assaulted.
“This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a language unique to each of our processing. There isn’t a singular path to heal when you’ve endured any version of the above, nor a singular path to rehabilitate the perpetrators. It can be a lonely road to make sense of ill treatment. I can’t solve that by quitting, and I can’t solve it by staying. But I can’t continue.”
“I’m imperfect and I will navigate this decision imperfectly, but what I’m sure of is the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour, not this conversation.”
“I’m claiming my responsibility now and going home.”
Is the Glasgow OVO Hydro gig cancelled?
The Arcade Fire Glasgow OVO Hydro concert is still set to take place on Monday, September 5.
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