Inuk actor Johnny Issaluk resigns from geographic society

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) has confirmed that Johnny Issaluk is no longer an “Explorer-In-Residence” for the society.

In a written statement to APTN News, RCGS confirmed that Issaluk resigned the position late last week.

“Johnny Issaluk resigned from his position as Explorer in Residence last week. The Society takes all allegations of this kind very seriously. Should also mention that Johnny Issaluk was not on any RCGS co-branded voyage and has not represented the Society on any cruise.”

RCGS has since deleted references to Issaluk from its website.

On Wednesday, a day after Issaluk appeared at a RCGS event in Ottawa, Nunavut filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril accused Issaluk of unwanted sexual touching at a party.

She went on to describe how many other women have contacted her with similar stories, and with some stories that are much worse.

Her statement has led to an outcry online, with the hashtag #Uvangalu, which translates to “Me too” in Inuktitut.

This isn’t Issaluk’s only resignation last week.

Following the statement from Arnaquq-Baril, another company announced Issaluk had resigned as well.

The Sedna Expedition hired Issaluk as a cultural advisor, and he spent three days with their team in Norway before they departed on a cruise.

Susan Eaton of the Sedna Epic Expedition wrote, “Subsequent to our return from Norway, Sedna’s leadership team became aware that Johnny had acted inappropriately in Tromso, making unwanted advances towards several of the women (ages 21 to 78 years) which made them feel uncomfortable.

“Sedna’s women’s leadership team acted swiftly and decisively, investigating the women’s allegations against Johnny. Finding the allegations credible, we requested (and received) Johnny’s resignation, effective December 9, 2019.”

APTN also learned this week that Issaluk had pled guilty to one count of uttering threats against a woman in March 2014. He received 15 months probation.

APTN asked RCGS to speak with us, but were told that their CEO John Geiger is travelling and is unavailable immediately for an interview.

Issaluk has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.