North

Inuk actor and athlete Johnny Issaluk steps down from two leadership positions

In a Facebook post this week Arctic adventure company Sedna Epic Expedition said they asked for Issaluk's resignation in December. Issaluk stepped down from his position at the company as an Inuit cultural advisor on Dec. 9., according to the post. 

Sedna Epic Expedition asked Issaluk to resign and he stepped down from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Actor Johnny Issaluk was asked to resign from arctic exploration company Sedna Epic Expedition. Earlier this week he also stepped down from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society where he was an Explorer-in-Residence. (Hannah Yoon/CP)

Social media posts made by Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril have continued to make waves for Johnny Issaluk. 

In a Facebook post this week Arctic adventure company Sedna Epic Expedition said they asked for Issaluk's resignation in December. Issaluk stepped down from his position at the company as an Inuit cultural advisor on Dec. 9, according to the post.  

The allegations made in the Sedna Epic Expedition post about Issaluk have not been verified.

Sedna Epic Expedition is a mostly female company that supports women to gain leadership experience during dive and snorkel expeditions in the Arctic. 

Issaluk also resigned from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society on Feb. 7. where he was an Explorer-in-Residence. A spokesperson from the company says it was Issaluk's decision to resign. 

Arnaquq-Baril is best known for her 2016 documentary Angry Inuk. She also made a short film Inuit High Kick starring Issaluk, which played at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. 

Her posts led Indspire to suspend an award for Issaluk on Thursday after the organization became aware of it. 

According to court documents in 2014 Issaluk pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or serious bodily harm to a woman. He was sentenced to 15 months probation where he was ordered to attend counselling and abstain from drugs and alcohol.  

Issaluk may be best known for recent acting roles in AMC's The Terror and Indian Horse, but before getting into acting he was a successful Inuit games athlete, winning over 200 medals in regional and international events over the course of two decades.

Arnaquq-Baril says post not just her words

"I'm not the only one who ... put these words together," said Arnaquq-Baril in an interview with CBC. She says she is part of a group called Arnaqquasaaq Collective— a group of Inuit women who talk about social justice issues online. 

With the group and other conversations with friends Arnaquq-Baril says they decided she was in the best position to speak up publicly. 

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril spoke to CBC Friday about a social media post she made about Issaluk. (David Gunn/CBC)

"You know there's other people that want to as well, so we had lots of discussion about what needs to be said," said Arnaquq-Baril . 

Arnaquq-Baril says the group helped prepare Issaluk's family and loved ones for the social media post. 

Arnaquq-Baril says she hasn't heard from Issaluk since she made the post. But blocked him on social media before doing so. Issaluk has since deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

"At this point there's nothing he could say to me that would change anything," said Arnaquq-Baril. 

CBC has continuously reached out to Issaluk for comment on the allegations through text message, phone calls and email. Issaluk sent CBC a statement apologising for any pain he's caused after CBC requested a comment on Arnaquq-Baril's post. Issaluk did not specify what he was sorry for.  

None of the allegations in the social media posts against Issaluk have been verified by CBC.

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