Arcade Fire respond to criticism of ‘We Exist’ video by Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace

Frontman Win Butler says "seeing the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful"

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has responded to criticisms of the band’s new video for ‘We Exist’ by Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace.

Grace documented her own gender dysphoria on the band’s latest album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ and hit out at the Canadian band’s decision to cast non-trans actor Andrew Garfield as an “actual ‘trans’ person” in the video last week.

The video stars Spider-Man actor Garfield as a transgender woman, donning a wig and dress, having an altercation in a bar and eventually joining Arcade Fire onstage at Coachella.

Butler and director of the video David Wilson have now responded to Grace’s remark in a new interview with The Advocate in which the frontman claims that he feels having somebody known for playing a Hollywood superhero is more effective in delivering the message of the song, about a gay child in Jamaica coming out to his father.

“Once something gets on the internet, it works its way into people’s lives in a way that I think is pretty powerful,” says Butler. “For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion.”

Admitting that he can “totally see the sensitivity of the issue”, Butler adds: “There was just so much thought and love that went into the video I don’t personally see it as negative.”

Meanwhile, ‘We Exist’ director Wilson admits that he considered casting a trans person for the video, but decided on Garfield for his “commitment and passion toward the project”.

“Before I got on the call, I thought, Is this the right person — should we be using a transgender person?” Wilson said. “But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew’s commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming. For an actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense.”

Watch the ‘We Exist’ video below.