Published May 25, 2014This past week, Against Me! leader Laura Jane Grace criticized Arcade Fire's music video for "We Exist," which stars Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield as a transgendered character. Grace argued that the band should have chosen a trans actor for the lead role, and now Arcade Fire's Win Butler has responded to such critiques.
Speaking with Advocate.com, Butler explained that "We Exist" was written while in Jamaica, and was a response to the country's infamously homophobic social and political climate. The video played off the lyrical message by exploring gender identity, and Garfield was intentionally chosen for his star power.
"Once something gets on the internet, it works its way into people's lives in a way that I think is pretty powerful," Butler said. "For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
Director David Wilson apparently considered using a trans actor, but Garfield was very passionate about the project and won him over. The actor was coached by trans musician Our Lady J for the role.
"There was just so much thought and love that went into the video I don't personally see it as negative," Butler added. "I can totally see the sensitivity of the issue."
While Grace was perhaps the most public opponent of the video, she was hardly the only dissenting voice, as PQ decried the video's portrayal of transwomen as victims. Butler didn't respond to these comments, however.
Watch the video below.