None of the people interviewed for this story about their alleged experiences with Butler knew each other until recently. On July 21, 2020, Stella made a post on her Instagram Story mentioning Butler by name. “I want to share one of my stories that I’ve kept a secret for so long,” she wrote. “Sexual predator – from when I was an 18 year old fangirl he was constantly trying to force me into sexual encounters and sending nude pictures of myself and sending unsolicited nude pictures of himself after I repeatedly told him I wasn’t interested.”
Sarah saw the post shortly afterwards and contacted Stella, uploading a screenshot of Stella’s post to Reddit earlier this year. Within days, Lily, Fiona, and a woman who allegedly had a consensual interaction with Butler responded in the comments, giving rough accounts of their stories. Pitchfork has interviewed and reviewed screenshots of the woman who claims she was consensual with Butler, and various details — including the specific language he allegedly used to request sex acts, as seen in Instagram DM screenshots and videos — are similar to accounts provided by the people who say he was inappropriate with them.
Another woman, who had no connection with the others, described a personal sexual interaction with Butler that she felt was blurring the boundaries of consent due to the power dynamics between them. A friend of hers recalled seeing Butler’s nude photos on the woman’s phone. “It’s a very complicated thing,” the woman said in an interview with Pitchfork. “Yeah, it was by mutual consent, but there’s also a side that was almost like I couldn’t say no.”
When Fiona first came across the other allegations on Reddit, she said, she was shocked and her mental health took a downward turn, prompting her to immediately seek professional help.
Lily said Butler’s response to their story, which apologized but also tested their memories point by point, was frustrating. “Apologies are things I no longer expect from people who perpetuate evil,” they said. “But if he could just sit back and realize what he’s done enough to understand that he needs to change his behavior, then maybe that would be enough to protect other people who are moving forward.”
Statement by Win Butler:
I love Régine with all my heart. We have been together for twenty years, she is my partner in music and in life, my soul mate and I am happy and grateful to have her by my side. But sometimes it was hard being the father, husband and bandmate I want to be. Today I want to clear the air about my life, my poor judgment and mistakes I’ve made.