JUNOs Defend Arcade Fire Nomination
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has addressed criticism on social media of the nomination of Arcade Fire for Group of the Year at this year’s JUNO Awards.
“We look at Arcade Fire’s nomination for group of the year as one for the entire band,” reads a statement from CARAS to JUNOs broadcaster 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.”
Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler was accused in a Pitchfork report last August of sexual misconduct by four people who were between 18 and 23 years old at the time of the alleged interactions. A few months later, a woman came forward alleging she had “an ongoing abusive relationship” with him.
Butler, who has not been charged with a crime, said in a statement at the time that the interactions were consensual and “it is deeply revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for anyone to suggest otherwise.”
The allegations were enough for Canadian singer Feist to drop out as opening act on the band’s tour of the UK and Europe.
Arcade Fire is nominated for Group of the Year at next month’s JUNOs along with Billy Talent, Metric, Arkells and The Reklaws.
Singer Jenn Grant was among those who reacted to the nomination on Twitter. “Do we think that musical group OTY representing this country should be made up of a lead singer who uses their power to act with sexual violence towards underage women? NO WE DO NOT!!!!” (In fact, none of the allegations against Butler involve anyone below the age of consent.)
Writer Jill Krajewski opined that “it’s impossible for [the JUNOs] to honour Arcade Fire without enabling Win Butler” because “abusers in music constantly use their bands as both lure and cover for their violence.”
Others were more direct in their condemnation of the JUNOs. “Who the hell ARE these people? What music industry does this body represent? F**k the Junos, an absolute f**king disgrace," tweeted Paul K. Lawton. "Anyone who shows up is complicit, no more excuses.”
Last month, CARAS was asked if it would strip Jacob Hoggard and Tory Lanez of their JUNOs following their convictions for violent crimes. “The organization has not rescinded an award to date,” a publicist told iHeartRadio.ca, “but that doesn't mean it isn't a possibility in the future.”
Hoggard fronted Hedley, won the 2012 JUNO for Pop Album of the Year. He was found guilty in Toronto last June of sexual assault causing bodily harm against an Ottawa woman in a Toronto hotel room six years ago. In October, he was sentenced to five years in prison. (He is free on bail until an appeal of his case is heard.)
Lanez, who has four JUNOs, was convicted in Los Angeles in December of assault with a firearm, carrying a loaded and unregistered firearm and discharging a firearm with gross negligence for the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion. At his sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 28, he could get up to 22 years and eight months behind bars.
CARAS appear to be taking a page from the U.S.-based Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammy Awards.
“We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record,” Recording Academy president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told The Wrap in 2021. "We’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”