A fifth person has made allegations of misconduct against Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, saying he was “emotionally abusive, manipulative and toxic” during their three-year relationship, Warbler reports.
The new allegations, brought by a woman using the pseudonym Sabina, come months after four accused Butler of sexual misconduct between 2016 and 2020. Three of his accusers said Butler used his fame to pressure put them in sexual contact; a fourth said Butler sexually assaulted them twice, including sticking his hand down their pants without consent.
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Butler (who has been married to Arcade Fire colleague Régine Chassagne since 2003) admitted to the extramarital relationships but said that all sexual encounters were “consensual”.
Sabina, for her part, said her relationship was “abusive” and rooted in a clear power imbalance: She was 22 when she met Butler, and he was 35; a world-renowned musician, she had just left a strict religious group and moved to Montreal, where she was taking university classes and working in a cafe.
“It was an ongoing abusive relationship,” she said. “Emotionally abusive, manipulative, toxic, using his dynamic power to exploit my body at times that were convenient for him. He hit me when I was so vulnerable.”
A representative for Butler was not immediately available to return Rolling Stonerequest for comment.
Sabina claimed she met Butler in 2015 at the cafe where she worked, and the two soon started talking and texting. Sabina was dating someone at the time and said Butler would sometimes ask her if she and her boyfriend had broken up yet. Eventually, Sabina and Butler kissed while out drinking one night, an experience she described as “crying” in a diary entry at the time. Still, she said she felt attracted to Butler, and their relationship progressed, eventually becoming sexual.
Echoing some of the previous allegations made by her accusers, Sabina said that Butler often turned their text conversations towards sex and asked for revealing photos. In other diary entries from that time, she wrote of her attraction to Butler but also expressed concern that she was just a “body” for him.
Sabina admitted that during their sexual encounters, she never told Butler “No” or tried to stop him. Because of that, she said Butler probably believed their sex was consensual. However, she explained why she believed it was actually more complicated than that and that the power imbalance in their relationship was overshadowed.
“In general, it was an abusive dynamic,” she said. “He was very aggressive, and I felt I just had to do what he said. I wasn’t really comfortable with some of the things he wanted me to do, but did them anyway. And that is ultimately dehumanizing.”
Furthermore, Sabina said that she was interested in pursuing a deeper relationship with Butler, but that he seemed only interested in sex, whether it was personal encounters or asking her to send photos or “act to have sex when he wanted it to happen.” When Sabina did not respond to his requests, she said, “He would make you feel so bad about him. You are cut off from contact if you do not consent to sexual favors.”
Sabina also described – and provided evidence – of Butler’s frequent texting and requests for sex, as well as nude photos of himself that he sent unsolicited. In one instance from late August 2017 (late after Butler canceled a planned DJ set at an event Sabina helped organize), Sabina sent Butler a long message about some of the challenges she was facing in her life and how her fix on sex made her. I think there was “not even a person.”
Butler allegedly replied, “Thank you for the note,” then spent the night telling Sabina that he wanted to see her. At one point, he sent two photos, one of which showed him masturbating.
“I didn’t ask for it at all,” Sabina said of the photos. “It felt really disrespectful and scary and horrible … He felt like that particular encounter was crossing a line that he shouldn’t have crossed, and it was scary. I really think he has more to apologize for. He never took accountability for that.” (Butler reportedly sent a text apologizing for the photos – and also kept asking Sabina if he could see her.)
Sabina and Butler continued seeing each other on and off for about another year, ending their relationship in June 2018. However, Sabina said she regretted not breaking it off after Butler’s Send those photos.
“If you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, it makes you feel better to tell yourself that this was meant to be, that the outbursts were mistakes and that you meant something to the abuser, that there is value you still in her eyes,” she said. said. “But the only value I ever had for him was to perform sexual acts when he wanted to.”
Following the initial allegations against Butler, Arcade Fire continued to tour in support of their latest album, we (Feist and Beck had planned to open, however, both dropped out of the trek). we also just nominated for an Award for Best Alternative Album.
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