CBC Cancels ‘Trickster’ Following Director Michelle Latimer’s Indigenous Identity Scandal

Amber Dowling
·3-min read

Canadian television has suffered another blow in the wake of the Michelle Latimer scandal. Following the revelation that the “Trickster” director and producer is not of Aboriginal descent, as she previously claimed, public broadcaster CBC has decided not to move forward with a second season of the series.

“We have had many conversations over the last few weeks with a view to continuing production on a second season of ‘Trickster.’ Those conversations included producers, writers, actors and the author of the books on which ‘Trickster’ is based,” CBC said in a statement. “Fully respecting everyone’s perspective, season two will not move forward as planned unfortunately.”

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“Trickster,” a show based on a series of novels by Eden Robinson, had been renewed for a second season ahead of its premiere last year, and debuted in October in Canada to critical acclaim thanks to its inclusion of the Indigenous community both in front of and behind the camera. The series premiered on Jan. 12 on The CW here in the U.S.

According to CBC, the broadcaster remains committed to telling other “important Indigenous stories” and it has eight other such scripted projects in development at time of press. “We look forward to sharing more details about what’s next in the coming months,” it added.

Asked for comment on the cancellation, Latimer told Variety: “One of the greatest joys of my life was seeing the world of ‘Trickster’ realized on screen. In December, I stepped down from my position in the hopes that the show would continue. I was not involved in the decision that was announced today and am sad to hear that Season 2 has been cancelled. I am incredibly proud of the entire team that worked so hard to bring ‘Trickster’ to life and I will forever be grateful to the cast and crew that poured their hearts and souls into its creation.”

Author Robinson also addressed the show’s cancellation, which comes just weeks ahead of the release of the third novel in her trilogy, “Return of the Trickster,” on March 2.

“One of the best parts of 2020 was watching the young, Indigenous cast soar,” she said. “The outpouring of support for the first season was magical. I’m deeply grateful that CBC and Sienna [Films] respect this situation. It gives me hope that future collaborations with Indigenous creatives can be done with care and integrity.”

The future of “Trickster” was first called into question late last year when an investigative piece on CBC News revealed that Kitgan and Zibi members refute Latimer’s claims to be of “Algonquin, Métis and French heritage, from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (Maniwaki), Quebec.” Latimer’s claimed heritage had been a big part of landing the book series for TV development. While doing press for the series in 2018 she revealed that she had written a personal pitch letter to Robinson claiming the main character’s journey “reminded me of where I come from and also where I had just been.”

Latimer stepped down from the series just before Christmas. “I don’t know how to deal with the anger, disappointment and stress,” Robinson wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “As wretched as this moment is, I’d rather know the truth.”

CBC’s decision not to move ahead with “Trickster” comes after the National Film Board decided to pull Latimer’s documentary “Inconvenient Indian” from Sundance and all other distribution.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to dialogue and engage with Indigenous communities to explore an accountable path forward for the film,” the NFB said in a statement.

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