Saskatoon woman alleges 'demeaning' and 'predatory' behaviour during video shoot in 2016

·5 min read
Nathan Thoen was the Yukigassen Team Canada captain in 2016. A video shoot for the team has come under fire following accusations of predatory behaviour on set.  (Submitted by Yukigassen Team Canada - image credit)
Nathan Thoen was the Yukigassen Team Canada captain in 2016. A video shoot for the team has come under fire following accusations of predatory behaviour on set. (Submitted by Yukigassen Team Canada - image credit)

A Saskatoon woman made allegations in a Facebook post this week of a "predatory" and "demeaning" environment during a video shoot in 2016.

Tiara Jackle described the video shoot for Yukigassen Team Canada, which was headed to Japan to compete in a snowball competition, in a public post Monday.

"The entire experience felt predatory, with unprofessional misogynistic commentary, and pressure to perform for the camera in ways that felt objectifying, overtly sexual, and demeaning," Jackle's post said.

Jackle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two members of Saskatoon band Bombargo, who were members of the yukigassen team, responded to allegations in a statement on their band's official website Wednesday. No other members of the band were involved in the video shoot, which was not a music video or any type of promotion for Bombargo.

In the statement, brothers Nathan and Anthony Thoen disputed some of Jackle's allegations, saying her post "holds some misinformation."

The Thoen brothers Anthony (left) and Nathan are pictured in this file photo.
The Thoen brothers Anthony (left) and Nathan are pictured in this file photo. (CBC)

Boundaries allegedly ignored

Jackle said in her post that she was asked at the shoot to play a background secretary for promotional content that would be used by the team, which included the Thoen brothers.

Jackle said she was instructed to line up with two other models, one of which was underage, and to walk toward the Yukigassen members, grab their hands and lead them into a private room.

"This scene, of course, was meant to imply that a sexual act would commence in the room between myself and the Yukigassen members," Jackle said.

The Thoens denied that an underage model was on set.

Jackle said she was also instructed to rip a tourniquet off of Nathan Thoen's arm and then "slap him playfully with it."

"My refusal to 'playfully slap' was met with various irritated complaints from the men present in the room and the group tried to persuade me to perform this action in the scene against my will," Jackle said.

She said the underage model was instructed to make out with a male actor and that when the scene was over the male allegedly had an erection.

Jackle said the three female actors voiced their discomfort several times during the shoot and that their boundaries were ignored.

"Throughout the experience, I felt objectified, pressured, disrespected, and any attempt that I made to voice my boundaries or objections was immediately dismissed. I had even tried to leave the shoot at one point and several of the men pressured me into staying," Jackle said.

The Thoens denied there were issues raised during the shoot.

"I don't recall anyone voicing any discomfort, and I feel that if I did I would have done something to help in the situation at the time. I have taken this entire situation incredibly seriously and want to learn from this as best I possibly can in order to be more aware in the future," Anthony Thoen said in the statement.

Jackle said the underage model contacted her days after the shoot, upset about the experience. Jackle said they reported the incident to her modelling agency, which requested Yukigassen Team Canada delete the footage and remove it from all online platforms.

Jackle said she worries the footage still exists.

"The entire experience has been traumatic and deeply unsettling for me. I continue to worry about that video footage, knowing that it might be detrimental to the trajectory of my career and the body of artistic work that I have created in the years since this event," Jackle said in her post.

Yukigassen Team Canada captain Nathan Thoen is shown in this file photo from 2016. Nathan and Anthony were the only members of Bombargo band who were present at the video shoot.
Yukigassen Team Canada captain Nathan Thoen is shown in this file photo from 2016. Nathan and Anthony were the only members of Bombargo band who were present at the video shoot.(Matthew Garand/CBC)

Nathan Thoen said in the statement that the entire band is taking steps to reflect and learn from the situation. He said the members will take in a sensitivity training course "to ensure we continue to learn and grow."

"Our recollection of the shoot differs from that of the post, but we recognize that our perception of what happened has been influenced by our gender and privilege. We would never intentionally make anyone feel uncomfortable. This goes against everything we stand for as brothers and as a band," the statement reads.

Camera operator speaks out

Chad Reynolds, who was also mentioned in Jackle's post, issued his own statement on Facebook Wednesday.

Reynolds said he was hired as one of the camera operators on the project in January and February of 2016.

"I am repulsed to be included in this context and to be associated with it at all," he said.

Reynolds said he didn't see everything mentioned in Jackle's post, but that he "should have spoken up on site to make sure everyone felt comfortable with the scenes being shot before and throughout filming."

"It appears that some of the team members were being exploitative in this instance and unfortunately I wasn't able to realize in the moment that things weren't right," Reynolds said. "I was wrong to not speak up at the time and I apologize."

He said he removed himself from the project after Yukigassen Team Canada posted an ad on Kijiji looking for "babes."

Reynolds said the project took a direction he was not comfortable with.

Yukigassen Team Canada went viral on social in media in 2016 after it placed a Kijiji ad looking for 'babes'.
Yukigassen Team Canada went viral on social in media in 2016 after it placed a Kijiji ad looking for 'babes'.(Kijiji)

Saskatchewan music industry reacts

Jackle's Facebook post has sparked a swift reaction from Saskatchewan's music industry, with people calling for cultural changes.

Juno-nominated artist Megan Nash took to her Instagram account thanking Jackle for coming forward.

"Reliving trauma is never easy and I am sending you all so much love. Thank you for your bravery," Nash said.

Nash asked Bombargo to get help and to stop hurting people, and encouraged the band to donate to a women's shelter.

The Capitol Music Club made its own post on Facebook promoting safe spaces.

"We are aware of the situation at hand involving certain sexual misconduct and will be learning and growing from the incident to ensure the venue and community around us is the safest space possible for all staff, musicians and patrons in the future," the club said.

The business said it is working directly with SaskMusic to develop policies and programming to work toward change in the industry.