What do we do with a problem like Win Butler?

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC[

Win Butler, the frontman of Arcade Fire, is facing questions over his behaviour after four people have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct extending back to at least 2015.

As first reported by Pitchfork, “Win Butler’s virtuous public reputation is not entirely in line with his offstage behavior.”

Three women aged 18 to 23 claim that they were the victims of inappropriate sexual interactions with Butler. A fourth person who identifies as gender-fluid tells of two sexual assaults: one in a car, and one in the person’s apartment.

Win hired a New York-based crisis management/PR person named Risa Heller to address the allegations, none of which have been proven in court. (The full statement can be found on Pitchfork.) While Win maintains that everything was consensual and independent corroboration is lacking, the news is nevertheless most disturbing. Radio stations have already pulled Arcade Fire from their playlists and there are calls for the current Arcade Fire tour, which began in Dublin this week, to be cancelled.

So, what now? People have questions.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

4 thoughts on “What do we do with a problem like Win Butler?

  • What do we do? Stop idolizing rock stars! If we approach their art recognizing that they are all imperfect humans and some of them will likely be bad people, then it will be easier for the art to be accepted as its own thing. Otherwise, we all become hypocrites. What about Elvis? Bowie? RHCP? The Zeppelin guys have a terrible track record! People still love them, but they’ll cancel Morrissey for saying all kinds of stupid things, even though there’s no record of him actually doing anything bad. There’s just too many levels to all of this. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to enjoy the art without necessarily supporting bad people. Win’s actions are disappointing, and even angering to me, but not surprising. But I still like their music.

  • This is the right take.

  • So much for the presumption of innocence.

  • better keep the car running, Mr. Butler. I’m still upset about PWR bottom being no more from this stuff while Manson and Motley Crue are still running rampant.


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