Update: This letter from Johnny Issaluk was shared by CBC News on Twitter.
Indspire, a national Indigenous charity, has suspended an award to one of its recipients after the organization learned of allegations made against him by Nunavut filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril.
Arnaquq-Bari went to social media to say Johnny Issaluk, an Inuk actor, athlete and cultural educator, committed a sexual assault against her when he “grabbed/fondled my ass” at a party.
She wrote “I immediately yelled at him in front of whoever else was in the room, telling him it’s not cool to touch women without their permission and without any warning. He apologized profusely immediately on the spot.”
She said she decided to forgive him, but she then started hearing stories from other who had heard her yell out.
A statement from Nick Foglia, Inspire’s vice president, communications and marketing, reads:
“Indspire learned yesterday afternoon of the serious allegations concerning Johnny Issaluk. It moved quickly to suspend his 2020 Indspire award. The original nomination will be reviewed by the Indspire awards jury.”
Natan Obed, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, voiced his support for Arnaquq-Baril at the Arctic Inspiration Prize ceremony in Ottawa, according to an article in Nunatsiaq News.
“Alethea Arnaquq-Baril made a social media post tonight about sexual abuse. I want to say that I stand by Alethea. I believe her. And I support her,”