Four other people had previously accused Butler of sexual misconduct. Butler has yet to comment on this latest accusation.
Under the pseudonym “Sabina,” the alleged victim said their relationship began in 2015 when she was 22 years old and Butler was 35. They had met at a cafe and bonded over the medieval poet Dante. Their relationship developed and Butler invited her to a dance party that he was hosting, which she attended with her then-boyfriend. Despite her significant other’s presence, Butler still attempted to pursue Sabina romantically.
“He knew I had a boyfriend and didn’t care,” she said to Pitchfork. “He would reference my boyfriend and be like, ‘Have you broken up yet?’”
They later began a sexual relationship that she alleged Butler would frequently try to exploit by repeatedly referencing having sex over text or by requesting photos.
Sabina wrote diary entries about her experiences with Butler, writing that she felt like she was “just a body to him.”
“In general, it was an abusive dynamic,” she added.” It was really aggressive and I felt like I just had to do what he said. I was not really comfortable with some of the things he was asking me to do, but doing them anyway. And that is ultimately dehumanizing.”
Sabina hoped her relationship with Butler would evolve beyond just sex.
“It was just being available for sex in any form, whether that was in person when he was in town, whether it was photos, and to engage in sexting when he wanted it to happen,” she said. “There was an urgency to his needs that didn’t account for my needs or what was going on in my life or my situation or my whereabouts. When he wanted sex, it was expected that I would be up and ready for it, because it was so nice of him to make time for it or something.”
In August 2017, Sabina sent Butler a lengthy message explaining her feelings and stating that she felt like she was “not even a person.” Butler brushed her off and asked if she wanted to go over and that he’d fall asleep if she wasn’t interested. She then alleged he followed that text up with two photos, one of which showed Butler masturbating. After he sent the photos, he continued to text her until the morning, apologizing and begging to see Sabina.
While Sabina and Butler eventually met up in 2018 for sex, she said she felt an obligation to him.
Sabina concluded by explaining to Pitchfork that she was bothered by her inability to cut Butler off after the photo incident in 2017.
Arcade Fire’s Canadian shows on their current We Tour, including a hometown gig in Montreal on Dec. 3, have yet to be cancelled.