Arcade Fire Frontman Responds to Criticism Over Andrew Garfield Transgender Video

"For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion," Win Butler told The Advocate.
Arcade Fire "We Exist"
Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire's "We Exist" music video

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has responded to criticism from Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace about a music video for Arcade Fire’s gay-rights anthem "We Exist," starring Andrew Garfield as a transgender woman who finds peace while rocking out on onstage with the band at Coachella.

The video features The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star shaving his head, donning a wig and dress, and delivering an elaborate dance sequence after surviving a scary situation at a bar. It earned rave reviews, but didn’t sit well with Grace, a transgender woman, who tweeted last week: “Dear @arcadefire, maybe when making a video for a song called "We Exist" you should get an actual "Trans" actor instead of Spider-Man?”

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Butler responded in a recent interview with the Advocate by saying the casting of a film star like Garfield in “We Exist,” a song about a son trying to tell his father that he's gay, helped make the video more impactful with viewers.

"For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion,” Butler told The Advocate, also admitting that he could “see the sensitivity of the issue.”

“We Exist” director David Wilson told The Advocate that he considered casting a trans person for the video, but chose Garfield because of his passion for the project.

"Before I got on the call, I thought, Is this the right person -- should we be using a transgender person?" Wilson said. "But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew's commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming. For an actor of that caliber to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense."

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