The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has defended Arcade Fire being among the nominees for this year’s Juno Awards despite the sexual misconduct allegations against frontman Win Butler.
Nominations for this years awards were revealed on Tuesday (February 31), and Arcade Fire are nominated in the Group of the Year category alongside Billy Talent, Metric, Arkells and The Reklaws.
In August, Butler was accused of sexual misconduct by four people – who were between 18 and 23 years old at the time of the alleged interactions, between 2015 and 2020 – who accused him of “inappropriate” behaviour. Those actions ranged from sexual assault to sending unwanted explicit text messages and pursuing relationships with fans of the band much younger than him.
In November, a fifth person came forward to accuse Butler of “emotionally abusive, manipulative, toxic” behaviour towards them, saying the musician used “his power dynamic to exploit my body at times that were convenient for him”. Butler has denied allegations of misconduct, saying he was “very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour” but that all contact with his accusers was “consensual”.
Arcade Fire’s nomination in this year Juno Awards sparked backlash on social media, with many questioning the decision to include an artist with allegations of sexual misconduct in the shortlist. The Academy has since defended Arcade Fire’s inclusion, arguing that the nomination highlights Butler’s bandmates.
“We look at Arcade Fire’s nomination for group of the year as one for the entire band,” the Academy said in a statement to CBC. “While we take the allegations very seriously, in this situation, we are also honouring the rest of the band for their success. We hope the allegations against Butler will not detract from the achievements of the other group members.”
Group of the Year eligibility in the Juno Awards is determined by a number of factors, including sales and streaming consumption, delegate vote, social media presence and radio audience. The winner is ultimately determined by Academy delegates’ votes.
In addition to Butler, Arcade Fire also includes founding member (and Butler’s wife) Régine Chassagne, along with longtime guitarist Richard Reed Parry, bassist Tim Kingsbury and drummer Jeremy Gara. When the accusations against Butler were first reported, Chassagne shared her own statement, in which she said: “I know [Butler] has never, and would never, touch a woman without her consent and I am certain he never did.”
Days after the initial allegations against Butler were made public, Arcade Fire embarked on a UK and European tour in support of their most recent album, last year’s ‘WE’. Feist, who had been booked as the tour’s main support act, withdrew shortly after. In late October, the band began a North American tour. Similarly, Beck, who had been booked to open shows on the run, dropped off the tour before it commenced.
The Junos – which are set to take place this year at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta on March 13 – are not the only upcoming music awards Arcade Fire have been nominated in. This weekend, the band are up for Best Alternative Music at the 2023 Grammy Awards.