Quebec Liberal Party Leader Dominique Anglade is urging the individuals accusing Arcade Fire singer Win Butler of sexual misconduct to file formal complaints.
Anglade was asked to comment on the allegations against the Montreal musician while she was on the campaign trail Wednesday morning in Quebec, where an election is set to take place Oct. 3.
She said she was "extremely disturbed" by the recent report in U.S. entertainment publication Pitchfork, calling them "serious allegations," and urging those involved to press charges.
Anglade said "allegations must be verbalized" and that "complaints must be filed."
On Saturday, Pitchfork ran a story in which four people accused Butler, 42, of inappropriate sexual interactions. The complainants told Pitchfork the alleged interactions were inappropriate based on gaps in age and power dynamics at play and included unwelcome advances.
One of the accusers says Butler sexually assaulted them two times in 2015 when they were 21 years old and he was 34. The Canadian Press could not independently verify the accounts outlined in the report.
Butler denies the allegations of misconduct and sexual assault, saying all encounters took place between consenting adults and that he never touched a woman against her will or demanded sexual favours.
In a statement, he acknowledged having relationships outside of his marriage with bandmate Régine Chassagne, saying he's struggled with mental health issues and alcohol use around the time the alleged interactions took place, between 2015 and 2020.
Anglade is a childhood friend of Chassagne. Together they created the Kanpe Foundation, which helps rural populations in Haiti.
Most recently, Chassagne wrote the foreword to Anglade's biography, "Ce Québec qui m'habite," published last year.
"In any situation like this, I've always said, 'Victims need to be able to speak out, they need to be able to denounce and file a complaint,' so this doesn't change my perspective," the Liberal leader said at a press briefing.
Chassagne has issued a statement to Pitchfork in support of her husband.
"I know what is in his heart, and I know he has never, and would never, touch a woman without her consent and I am certain he never did. He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together," the statement said.
Some Canadian radio stations have pulled Arcade Fire from rotation this week, at least temporarily.
A spokesperson for Rogers Communications says two alternate music format radio stations owned by Rogers Media have "paused" playing the band and the company "will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.”
Earlier this week, CBC confirmed it would also stop playing the Montreal rock act on its CBC Music FM radio station and the Sirius XM channel CBC Radio 3 "until we learn more about the situation.''
Meanwhile, Toronto station Indie88 cut Arcade Fire from its playlist over the weekend shortly after the allegations emerged.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.
The Canadian Press