BC First Nations demand apology from William Shatner, Ryan Reynolds over salmon video

Days after a video was posted online showing William Shatner telling open net salmon farms to “[expletive] off,” a group of Indigenous salmon farmers is demanding an apology.

The Coalition of First Nation for Finfish Stewardship says the video “attacked the dignity” of the Nations and their members who host salmon farming in their waters.

The coalition says it wants an apology from both Shatner and Ryan Reynolds, as Reynolds’ production company was involved in making the video.

In a statement, the Nations said the response from the two celebrities is all too common.

“This is a classic example of a rich, elite, removed, urban white men overriding the wishes of vulnerable Indigenous communities, a reocurring theme within the Liberal government and recent decisions made by politicians like Minister Wilkinson,” the Nations said.

According to the statement, around 700 Indigenous people work in salmon farming, which is a sector that brings in $133 million per year to First Nations.

“To repeatedly say ‘f*ck off’ to a sector that is woven into the social and economic fabrics of a dozen First Nations along B.C.’s coast implies that you do not care about the human well being of our remote communities that do not have a lot of options to turn to economically,” it said.

“We have been the stewards of our lands, waters, and elements for over 10,000 years, including wild Pacific salmon, the lifeblood of our people. Due to the impact of colonization on wild salmon stocks, we have had to include salmon farming alongside salmon stewardship to fill the economic gap caused by the decline of wild salmon.”

The statement went on to say the group is most disappointed in Reynolds.

“The caring image he has built for himself, in our eyes, apparently could not be further from the truth after this video was released insulting our people,” it said.

“He, being a British Columbian, should have realized how hurtful, shameful, and impactful these words and this video would land on impoverished, struggling Indigenous communities that are striving to achieve the fraction of the wealth Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Shatner have amassed.”

The group says it expects an apology in the coming days.

With files from Cole Schisler.

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