Radio stations pull Arcade Fire music following sexual misconduct allegations against frontman

Several radio stations have begun removing Arcade Fire’s discography from their lineups following recent allegations of sexual misconduct made against the band's frontman, Win Butler.

The band’s world tour kicks off Tuesday in Dublin

A man in a leather jacket holds an electric guitar and sings into a microphone, against a red light background.
Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs onstage at the 2022 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 15, 2022 in Indio, Calif. Butler is facing four sexual misconduct allegations, according to a report in Pitchfork. (Rich Fury/Getty Images/Coachella)

WARNING: This article contains content about sexual assault and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

Several radio stations across North America have begun removing Arcade Fire's discography from their lineups following recent allegations of sexual misconduct made against the Canadian band's frontman, Win Butler.

According to a report published Saturday in music news publication Pitchfork, four people have made allegations against Butler. CBC News was unable to independently verify these allegations. They have not been proven in court.

The allegations reported by Pitchfork range from unsolicited sexual text messages and photos, to forceful touching. The people told Pitchfork the alleged interactions were inappropriate based on age gaps and uneven power dynamics, and they felt they couldn't say no to Butler.

In a statement, Butler denied the allegations and said all encounters were consensual and he never touched a woman against her will. 

By Tuesday, several stations, including CBC Music, made the decision to pull Arcade Fire's tracks. The band's world tour, which kicked off Tuesday in Dublin, has so far gone forward as planned.

Ian March, Program Director at Indie88, a music station based in Toronto, said Tuesday that the station decided over the weekend to pull Arcade Fire's music. (Simon Dingley/CBC)

Radio stations begin to pull tracks

"I can confirm that we made a quick decision over the weekend to pull the band's music. We have not yet had a fulsome internal conversation about the permanence of this decision," said Ian March, program director at Indie88, a music station based in Toronto.

Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs at CBC, says CBC Music will follow suit.

"In light of the recent allegations against Win Butler, CBC Music will pause on playing Arcade Fire's music until we learn more about the situation," said Thompson.

CBC News has reached out to Corus Entertainment but has yet to receive a formal response. 

Bill Childs, a radio host in St. Paul, Minn., said he's been tracking the U.S. radio stations who are also pulling the band's music. Since the news of the allegations was reported, he says at least six stations that routinely play the band's music had dropped the songs by sometime Tuesday. 

"I'm always curious about how radio stations respond when core artists of theirs get caught up in allegations of whatever sort," Childs said in an interview with CBC News.

Arcade Fire performing at the 2022 Juno Awards in Toronto. (CARAS/iPhoto)

He says that some stations have continued to play the band's songs very late at night, but suspects they have yet to reprogram their playlist.

World tour goes forward as planned

Arcade Fire's world tour kicks off Tuesday in Dublin, with shows ending in North America in December in Montreal. As of Tuesday evening, none of these concerts had been cancelled or postponed. Canadian singer-songwriter Feist is scheduled to open for the band.

Kate Mc Creesh, a longtime fan of the band for more than 19 years, said she and her husband had tickets to Tuesday's show in Dublin, but have chosen to skip it, despite being out more than $260.

Kate Mc Creesh and her husband attending an Arcade Fire concert in Edinburgh in September 2011. (Submitted by Kate MC Creesh)

"I just ... can't go and enjoy myself knowing what the accusations are," she said.

"I know there's two sides to every story, but I am choosing to believe."

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.


Griffin Jaeger is a reporter for CBC News and a 2022 Joan Donaldson Scholar. You can reach him at griffin.jaeger@cbc.ca

With files from Thomas Daigle, Erika Morris, Jennifer Yoon