By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
CALEDONIA—For the past two years, Skyler Williams has served as the central figure in the protests that led to the cancellation of the McKenzie Meadows subdivision in Caledonia. Now, he faces allegations of sexual misconduct.
The issue first came to light when a TikTok user named Charlie Cruise posted a video online detailing her interactions with Williams: “Skyler uses his position to take advantage of women. I am saying this on behalf of people who have asked me to come forward and speak about it. I’m not the first person to speak about this story about Skyler, but I am the first person who will be speaking in public about it.”
Cruise, who has previously posted videos encouraging people to support Land Back Lane and the reclamation efforts underway there, said that initially she approached Williams.
“Having no prior knowledge that Skyler is married or had a partner, I approached Skyler,” she explained. “Rather than disclosing the information that he is with somebody, he immediately went into love-bombing, calling me ‘baby’, saying he loves things about me, saying he looked into me deeper and loves my activism work.”
Following the accusation, an Indigenous podcast titled Red Truth, White Lies from Credible Mohawk Entertainment broadcast a recorded phone conversation between Williams and one of the co-hosts, Nick LaMarsh. In this recording, Williams said he had only seen the first few seconds of Cruise’s video and that his focus has been on his kids and family, and on the hardship placed on them over the last two years.
The podcast went on to discuss further allegations against Williams, claiming that at least four other people have made allegations of similar experiences with Williams at various land reclamation sites across the country over the course of the last two years. LaMarsh stated in the recording that he had visited the Land Back site in Caledonia and found a woman there who told him she had been attacked at the site, although any potential attackers remained unnamed.
According to an article published in the Two Row Times, activities alleged to have taken place at Land Back Lane include an instance of gang rape, the spread of STDs, illicit drug use, and a man wanted for physical assault hiding out on the site to avoid arrest. However, the article did not state specifically who made those claims and, as of publication, neither Williams nor any other member of the Land Back community is facing charges related to them.
In a since-deleted post made on January 6, Williams stated, “Over the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion and details about my personal life and how I have conducted myself in my personal relationships. I do want to take the time now to acknowledge that I have cheated on past partners, including my ex-wife. I have been dishonest with them and hurt people who care about me. For this, I apologize.”
Williams went on to say that his behaviour was “not ok”, and that he plans on taking steps over the short-term to “make amends to those I’ve hurt.”
He continued, “I’ve faced violence and haven’t done my best to find healthy ways to cope. The burden of this trauma is carried by those closest to me, and I recognize I have hurt those people who love me. This behavior is a poor reflection on me and my family and the trust placed in me as spokesperson of Land Back Lane, and for that, I also apologize.”
He then apologized to his daughters, calling them “so strong, smart, and beautiful” for handling the trauma of the last two years: “I can’t even imagine.”
His post concluded, “Do not use this as a seed of division. Our community has been through enough. The strength of our people is second-to-none. If anything, we need to find a way to come together.”
Cruise has since posted a number of new videos in which she says she has been bullied and harassed by Williams’ supporters, along with sharing screenshots of private conversations between herself and Williams in which they discussed the matter following her first video.
“I did not know the depth of what else was going on. I had heard allegations and I genuinely did not know what I was jumping into by speaking up,” said Cruise. “The abuse I’ve received from women has been substantial. I publicly want to say that if anybody hurt you from Land Back Lane and I was the one that sent you there with one of my viral videos, I’m sorry.”