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Radio stations pull Arcade Fire as Win Butler faces sexual misconduct allegations

TORONTO — Arcade Fire is being yanked from the airwaves at some Canadian radio stations amid sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Win Butler.
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Arcade Fire celebrates their Juno for Album of the year at the Juno Awards in Vancouver, Sunday, March, 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TORONTO — Arcade Fire is being yanked from the airwaves at some Canadian radio stations amid sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Win Butler.

A representative for CBC says the broadcaster will "pause" playing the Montreal rock act on its CBC Music FM radio station and the Sirius XM channel CBC Radio 3, "until we learn more about the situation."

Meanwhile, Ian March, program director at Toronto's Indie88, confirmed the indie rock station made "a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band's music."

He says Indie88 has "not yet had a fulsome internal conversation about the permanence of this decision."

Representatives at Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Communications — three of Canada's major radio broadcasters with stations that play Arcade Fire — did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Saturday, music publication Pitchfork ran a story containing allegations of inappropriate sexual interactions against four people by the 42-year-old musician. The Canadian Press could not independently verify the accounts outlined in the report.

The complainants told Pitchfork the alleged interactions were inappropriate based on gaps in age and power dynamics at play and included unwelcome advances.

One of the accusers says Butler sexually assaulted them two times in 2015 when they were 21 years old and he was 34. 

The first incident of forceful touching happened when Butler allegedly stuck his hands down their pants without consent while they were riding in a car together, according to Pitchfork. Another time, he allegedly showed up at their apartment when he was told not to come, the report said.

Pitchfork also spoke with two women who say Butler demanded sexually explicit photos or videos from them, while another woman says he sent her unsolicited sexual text messages and photos.

In an emailed statement sent through a crisis public relations firm, Butler acknowledged he had sexual relationships outside of his marriage to bandmate Regine Chassagne.

But the singer denies any allegations of misconduct, saying all encounters took place between consenting adults and he never touched a woman against her will or demanded sexual favours.

"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," Butler said in the statement.

"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."

Arcade Fire moved ahead with the launch of its world tour on Tuesday in Dublin, Ireland, with fellow Canadian musician Leslie Feist booked as the band's opener.

Photos of Feist's merchandise table uploaded by concertgoers on social media showed a sign that said proceeds from merch sales would be donated to Women's Aid Dublin, an organization focused on stopping domestic violence.

Feist's manager did not respond to requests for comment on whether her decision was tied to the allegations against Butler or part of a previously planned fundraising effort.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2022.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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