‘I’m a monster’: Ian Campeau admits to using his status against women

Campeau, Max FineDay make statements on Twitter

Campeau

A former member of A Tribe Called Red says he cheated on his wife, and exploited his position and popularity to take advantage of other women.

Ian Campeau, also known as DJ NDN (@deejaynndn on Twitter), revealed the indiscretions in a series of tweets on the social media platform Wednesday.

Campeau did not say what prompted the mea culpa.

“I’m a monster but working to not be,” he wrote in the thread. “I’m seeking professional help to help me realize the harms I’ve caused to literally EVERYONE around me.

“I’m so sorry and want to do my best to help heal those I’ve harmed.”

DJ group

Campeau helped found the popular DJ group that blended electronic and powwow music, and released its self-titled debut in 2012.

The Ottawa-based musicians enjoyed success early on and made a mark on the music industry, but Campeau left in 2017 for what he said was to pursue social activism full-time and connect with his Anishinaabe culture.

However, it sounds like he also caused harm.

“I’m sorry to my current and past colleagues for my destructive behaviours and toxicity,” he said on Twitter.

“I was always pretending to be a better person than I was. I’m going to stop taking up space and go to work on bettering myself as a man, a friend, colleague, family and community member.”

(Jesse Thistle had his own controversy on Twitter recently. Lucie Thistle)

Some of Campeau’s Twitter followers praised him for coming clean. But his wife cut them off.

“Yeah, good job,” tweeted Justine Campeau, who was pregnant and battling cancer while her husband says he was unfaithful.

“One day in, let’s start the praising that created this in the first place.”

Justine didn’t respond to a request for an interview. And Ian replied that he’d said enough.

“I don’t think I should take up more space,” he responded in an email. “I am seeing counsellors and meeting with elders regularly.

“I’m so sorry to those I’ve harmed and hope to help relieve some of the pain I caused when I learn how to.”


Watch Jamie Pashagumskum’s story here:


Ian was recently part of a new Facebook Live show called Homies Chatting with his friend and author Jesse Thistle, who experienced his own drama on Twitter earlier this month.

Thistle deactivated his @michifman account after being accused of making unflattering comments when his best-selling book From the Ashes, a memoir about overcoming addiction and homelessness, lost a major award.

The Métis-Cree author and assistant professor of Métis studies at York University in Toronto, is no longer with the Facebook show, which has been chalked up to a busy schedule.

“There’s obviously more to this,” Alaya McIvor, an advocate for female and two-spirited victims of violence in Winnipeg, said of Campeau’s appeal.

2S
(Alaya McIvor is a transgender-two spirit Indigenous woman from Manitoba. File)

“Probably (alleged) victims came forward and messaged the individuals saying that they’re going to go forward with allegations.”

Ian admitted he hurt his wife, family, colleagues and community in an abusive and emotional way.

“I would make unwanted advances on women who thought I was a good person. I did this many times with many people while touring and without consequence or being held accountable. I’ve never physically hit anyone, but I did use tactics to exploit,” he tweeted.

“My ego was too big and sheltered myself from reality. I’m so sorry to the victims of my manipulations. I’m so sorry to my family for my dishonesty and the all pain I’ve caused. Especially to my wife who’s life I ruined as I was unfaithful while she had cancer and carried my baby.”

Ian doesn’t identify any of the women or explain why he’s coming forward now.

McIvor said she hoped those women have access to healing support the way Campeau does.

He pinned the thread to his Twitter account where he said he will accept direct messages with advice on “repairing the problems I’ve caused.”

Ian is the second prominent Indigenous man to issue a statement on Twitter about his behaviour this month.

Max FineDay, executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) in Saskatoon, responded to an allegation of abuse a woman posted on Twitter.

He is now on leave from the organization for youth and other boards he was a member of.

(Max FineDay is on administrative leave from Canadian Roots Exchange. CRE photo)

“Recently, I posted about the need to address misogyny, violence, and transphobia in Indigenous communities,” FineDay (@MaxFineDay) wrote in a statement posted to Twitter on July 24. “Someone with whom I once shared my life posted in response that I have failed in my obligation to others, including her.

“Over the past several years I have held a mirror up to Canadians and challenged them to do better. Now that mirror is being held up to me.”

FineDay didn’t address the allegation. He said he asked CRE to determine whether he could continue in his role.

“From there, I leave it to CRE’s board to determine how the organization will continue to build faith across Canada that reconciliation is possible – and whether I will be part of that journey.”

Two organizations on whose boards he served – the Broadbent Institute and Saskatchewan Union of Nurses – said in releases the allegations of abuse and gender-based violence were “concerning.”

CRE said it learned of the allegations on July 22.

Speak out

Campeau told Maclean’s in 2017 men need to speak out against sexual violence.

But McIvor doesn’t want to see them hijack the online #metoo movement for a #hetoo movement.

“I really wouldn’t give a man that harmed women a platform,” she said.

“Because now that would set up a platform for a lot of Harvey Weinsteins, for example. We really need to keep the #metoo movement for women.”

Tanya Talaga, who produces Homies Chatting, was also thinking of the women affected.

“I’d like to send my thoughts to Ian’s wife and children, and support for the healing for all involved,” said a statement by the president and CEO of Makwa Creative.

“Makwa Creative is owned and run by Indigenous women, and our policies and expectations reflect how we strive to live up to our cultural teachings. Mr. Campeau is now on leave from Homies Chatting.  We call on him to take responsibility and make amends in whatever way that it is required.”

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.