Arcade Fire are facing growing calls from fans to cancel shows or refund tickets for their upcoming UK tour dates following allegations of sexual misconduct against frontman Win Butler.
The claims of three women and one gender-fluid person were published in a survey by US music site Pitchfork over the weekend. The four were aged between 18 and 23 at the time of the alleged inappropriate behavior between 2016 and 2020 – when Butler was in his late 30s, the article reports.
Butler, who has been married to his Arcade Fire teammate Régine Chassagne since 2003, said the interactions were consensual and vehemently denied misconduct but said he was “very sorry to everyone I have hurt by my behavior”.
Chassagne supported her husband, saying in a statement: “I know he has never touched and never would touch a woman without her consent and I am sure he never has. He got lost and he found his way back.”
Following the allegations, some fans of the indie rock band say they are no longer comfortable attending Arcade Fire shows or listening to their music. Some are trying to resell tickets or have requested refunds from ticketing sites, and some say it’s the band’s responsibility to step in and make that happen.
Arcade Fire played in Dublin this week and are set to start a handful of UK dates tonight, ahead of gigs across Europe, the US and Canada.
After performing in Dublin, support act Feist announced their departure from the tour on Thursday, saying in a lengthy statement explaining their decision that “the best way to take care of my band, my team and my family is to walk away from this tour, not this conversation”.
Fan Daisy Collier, a 30-something from Gloucestershire, says Arcade Fire have been her favorite band since she was 15, but her “heart sank” when she read the allegations. She has tickets to the Birmingham show tonight.
“Having been a fan of the band for so long, there’s a kind of heartache that comes with the feeling of [reading this] about someone you listened to and looked up to and, you know, really felt those lyrics for years,” she told Sky News.
“It changes the dynamic of my relationship with their music and with the band. A lot of people on social media said, ‘you have to separate the person from the music’. But it is always he who sings it. at this gig, I can’t in good conscience just sit there and enjoy myself.”
Ms Collier paid for insurance for her tickets, which she says cost around £94 each in total, but was told the reasons she could no longer go to the concert did not meet the payment criteria.
She then contacted Ticketmaster, who told her that they could only offer a refund in the event of a cancellation.
“I don’t think they should continue the tour”
Whatever happens, Ms Collier says she won’t be going to the show: “For me personally, it’s not something I want to engage in anymore.
“I don’t think they should continue the tour. I think it’s insulting to the [alleged] victims to go on a massive European tour.
“As far as Ticketmaster is concerned, I understand that you cannot expect a refund for every little thing. But there should be some sort of policy for unprecedented situations like this. It’s an understandable situation where you wouldn’t want to attend a concert that’s being held by someone accused of sexual misconduct.”
Ms. Collier isn’t the only fan, or former fan, who no longer wants to go to upcoming shows.
Another Birmingham ticket holder, who did not want to be named, also told Sky News he would not be taking part.
“I’ve been a fan of Arcade Fire since the release of [debut album] Funeral in 2004, to this day it’s still one of my favorite albums,” he said. “Their music got me through some really tough times and I was looking forward to seeing them for what is now the fifth time.
“I saw the damning Pitchfork article with the separate accounts of the women who made the accusations against him…I can’t in good conscience go to them and just dance and sing and put those accusations aside.”
Fans contact Ticketmaster and attempt to resell tickets
In a tweet to Ticketmaster, a ticket holder urged them to “do what’s decent” and offer refunds.
‘Cancel the tour and refund the fans,’ wrote another – later saying he tried to sell his two tickets to the Birmingham show at half price but ‘can’t even give them away’.
Another Twitter user said “it doesn’t seem like the right thing anymore” to see the band in Manchester on Saturday.
“The arrogance he has to continue the tour speaks volumes,” said another.
However, some fans said the allegations did not change how they felt about the band.
“I won’t stop loving my band,” one tweeted, adding that Butler was “innocent until proven guilty.” Another who attended the band’s gig in Dublin posted: “Brilliant gig, by a brilliant band. It’s all that matters.”
The allegations also led some radio stations in Canada, the band’s home country, to stop playing their music.
Win Butler’s full statement
Butler released a lengthy statement to Pitchfork in response to the allegations. His representatives reported it to Sky News when asked to comment.
“I love Régine with all my heart,” Butler said. “We have been together for 20 years, she is my partner in music and in life, my soul mate and I am lucky and grateful to have her by my side. But sometimes it’s been difficult to balance being the father, husband, and bandmate that I want to be. Today I want to clarify my life, my lack of judgment and the mistakes I made.
“I’ve had consensual relationships outside of my marriage.
“There’s no easy way to say this, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done is have to share this with my son. The majority of these relationships have been short-lived, and my wife is aware – our marriage has, in the past, been more unconventional than some. I’ve connected with people in person, at shows, and through social media, and shared posts that I’m not proud of. More importantly, each of these interactions has been mutual and always between consent. It is profoundly revisionist, and frankly, simply untrue, for anyone to suggest otherwise.
“I’ve never touched a woman against her will, and any involvement I have is just plain wrong. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favors. It simply and unequivocally never happened.
“While these relationships were all consensual, I am truly sorry to anyone I hurt through my behavior. Life is filled with tremendous pain and mistakes, and I never want to help cause anyone else’s pain.
“I have long struggled with mental health issues and the ghosts of child abuse. In my thirties, I started drinking as I faced the most severe depression of my life after our family had a miscarriage. None of this is meant to excuse my behavior, but I want to put some context and share what was going on in my life at that time. I no longer recognized myself or the person I had become. Régine waited patiently to watch me suffer and tried to help me as best she could. know it must have been so hard for her to see the person she loved so lost.
“I worked 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 devoted a great deal of time and energy to therapy and healing, including attending AA. I’m more aware now of how my public persona can skew relationships, even if a situation seems friendly and positive to me. I am very grateful to Régine, my family, my dear friends and my therapist, who helped me out of the abyss that I was sure would sometimes 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 continue to learn from my mistakes and work hard to become a better person, someone my son can be proud of. I tell you all my friends, my family, everyone I’ve hurt and people who love my music and are shocked and disappointed by this report: I’m sorry, I’m sorry for the pain that I caused – I’m sorry for not being more aware and tuned in to the effect I have on people – Fuck it, and even if that’s not an excuse, I’ll keep looking forward forward and to heal what can be healed, and to learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better.
Arcade Fire representatives did not respond to Sky News’ request for further comment on the issue of some fans asking for refunds or the cancellation of shows.
Sky News has also contacted Ticketmaster for comment.
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