Against Me! Singer Continues to Criticize Arcade Fire Video

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 05.27.14 in News

Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace has lashed out against Arcade Fire once again, criticizing their recent defense of Andrew Garfield’s role as a transgender person in the “We Exist” video.

“My main problem with the video isn’t even casting it’s stereotyping,” she wrote on Twitter (via Pitchfork). “Like why does Garfield cry about shaving their head to then put on a wig when they have gorgeous hair? Why does Garfield go to the shittiest bar ever to drink domestic beer and dance with bigot rednecks? And the idea that the band playing Coachella is their Mecca of acceptance and validation. Phfff. As if.”

In an interview with The Advocate last week, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler said the video was inspired by the band’s trip to Jamaica. “We were in Kingston, and we went to this kind of film event and met some gay Jamaican kids and just kind of talked to them and realized that they were constantly under the threat of violence … It was really eye-opening to hang out with these kids who, if they were going to dress differently or express who they were, there was this real tension.

He added, “Once something gets on the Internet, it works its way into people’s lives in a way that I think is pretty powerful. For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion.”

“The implication that a homeless Jamaican LGBT youth living in a sewer is going to feel empowered because … a cis, straight white male actor in movies they can’t afford to see stars in a music video they’ll never watch?” Grace countered. “That’s so like wtf?”

Director David Wilson, who is gay, told The Advocate he too struggled with the idea of Garfield playing Sandy.

“Before I got on the call, I thought, ‘Is this the right person — should we be using a transgender person?’” 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.”