Arcade Fire tour commences despite Win Butler’s sexual assault allegations

Arcade Fire commenced their world tour yesterday in Dublin, despite the allegations of sexual misconduct against frontman Win Butler which came to light over the weekend.

Arcade Fire

The allegations were first made in a lengthy Pitchfork article, which detailed how four former fans of Arcade Fire – all aged between 18 and 23 at the time of the alleged incidents – accused Butler of sexual misconduct, ranging from unsolicited sexual text messaging to forceful touching.

The Canadian indie rock band centres on Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. In his response to the allegations, Butler admitted to having had consensual relationships outside of his marriage, but vehemently denied and said it was “frankly just wrong” to suggest any of his actions weren’t between two consenting adults.

“I have never touched a woman against her will,” Butler said, in a detailed response to the original article, “and any implication that I have is simply false. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favours. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened.”

Arcade Fire band

Since the band burst onto the scene with their debut, Funeral, in 2004, Arcade Fire have not only won musical plaudits – with all five of their studio albums having been nominated for Grammys – but have generally been considered a well-liked band for their philanthropic efforts, too.

Chassagne’s Haitian background has led the group to become notable and respected for their charitable efforts with their song ‘Haiti’ dedicated to the struggles the country has faced.

Yet these recent allegations that have surfaced go against that respected public image the band, and especially Butler, have made for themselves; so much so that many fans were calling on the band to cancel their world tour – something which the band have so far rejected, having commenced their tour in Dublin last night.

Despite this, some radio stations in the band’s native Canada have taken matters into their own hands and refused to play any of their music for the time being.

Régine Chassagne

Régine Chassagne

A representative of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has said the broadcaster would “pause” playing Arcade Fire’s music “until we learn more about the situation”. Toronto’s Indie88 radio station, meanwhile, said more emphatically that it was “a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band’s music”.

Although there was reportedly no mention of any of the allegations from Arcade Fire at their show last night, they played a part of Ben E. King’s famous tune ‘Stand By Me’, which could possibly have been a minor reference.

Supporting act Feist gave all the proceeds of her merch sales to Women’s Aid Dublin, but it hasn’t been verified whether or not this was in response to any of the allegations made.

Arcade Fire play Birmingham’s Utilita Arena this Friday, 2 September, before heading to Manchester, then Glasgow and then play London’s O2 on 8 September.

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