A Statement on Allegations Against Me By Jas Morgan

I’ve been working within the Indigenous/Indigiqueer art world since 1995. As a 2 Spirit filmmaker, my community has been the site of my deepest care and love. I have strived to not only make work for and about my community, I have also worked hard to improve access to video making skills for Indigenous and BIPOC youth by teaching workshops with different organizations. I have always strived to treat these youth with the care they deserve and to help amplify their voices. I have also served on several boards to support the arts communities in Vancouver and Toronto. I have championed numerous emerging Indigiqueer/2 Spirit artists in Canada and Internationally.

When KIN was being written, my working relationship with Jas Morgan was still functional. After we shot KIN, another project (the Union Docs Fellowship) was in the middle of wrapping up. Jas Morgan was the editor for a book of scholarly writing on my work. I had concerns about the direction the book had taken and sent what I hoped was a delicate private email about it. Jas Morgan did not respond well and began sending multiple emails with personal attacks against me, including calling me an ableist slur. It was during their rage at this time that they started sowing seeds accusing me of harassment. I felt at this time that continuing to engage with Jas was too damaging and stopped responding. I also asked Jas not to email me again. They did not respect my boundary and instead sent five more emails over the course of the next year. I read some of them, I did not read all of them. I felt Jas’ behaviour was detrimental to my wellbeing and was trying to defuse the situation.

KIN was still important to me of course because it was a story of and from our communities, and also from my personal life. A lot of 2 Spirit/Indigiqueer youth were involved in the making of KIN. I was not fired from KIN. I completed my work and was paid my full fee both for writing and directing. I continued to give notes during the post-production process. However I felt uncomfortable with Jas’ involvement and tried to keep my distance. During the publicity phase of KIN I became acutely aware that I was being excluded and erased. I recently received what felt like aggressive emails from Jas over the matter of the artist fee for KIN from ImagineNATIVE. They said the artist fee was going to the production company and to stop harassing them. They also threatened to sue me. I again asked them to stop emailing me and again they disregarded that request and immediately emailed again.

Throughout this experience I have attempted to minimize harm. I felt that Jas was going to leverage KIN and their role as producer against me, which they have. I also felt that it was inevitable since the breakdown of our working relationship in October 2022 that they would attempt to publicly defame me, which they have.

I don’t know if youth took issue with me for behaviour on set, but if they did I would ask them to talk to me. I know approaching someone you might have conflict with is hard. In which case I encourage them to find a trusted elder to approach me to begin mediation proceedings. I would also like any of the Femmes Jas has accused me of mistreating to reach out. I would like these allegations to not be so vague so that I may come to an understanding with the unnamed youth and Femmes Jas has accused me of mistreating.

I did not sexually harass Jas. This is factually false.

I have huge respect for Femmes, youth, and all of my colleagues. I know based on the messages I have been receiving that this is a pattern of behaviour which has been recognized by many people in the Indigenous arts community, most of whom are too afraid to publicly speak because of Jas Morgan’s personal attacks. I cannot tell you what to believe, as our beliefs are personal. However I will say I believe myself to be innocent of these allegations and that this is a smear campaign for Jas to gain power over me now that both projects we were involved with are over.

Since Jas Morgan’s defamatory posts about me both on their personal Instagram and the Instagram for KIN the Series, I have lost an employment opportunity directly related to this smear campaign. I am a fully self-employed artist who needs to use the Food Bank, without the benefit of an academic institution behind me like Jas Morgan has at SFU.

It is very unfortunate that creative disputes end up becoming mired in specious allegations of harassment and abuse and that I am forced to respond to these unfounded and untrue allegations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *