Canadian Anti-Hate Network
This post has been updated to include comment from Justin Bodnarchuk.
The owner of a Winnipeg gym was arrested after posting a series of violent and threatening messages to Instagram targeting women. According to individuals who have been tracking Justin Bodnarchuk’s online footprint, this is not the first time he’s come under scrutiny for misogynistic behaviour.
In posts to Instagram, a trio of cruisers are parked in front of what appears to be outside the Winnipeg location of Aspect Fitness.
According to the Winnipeg Police Service, on July 19, numerous citizens reported “threatening posts that were being made on social media” regarding women deemed to be "feminists" and towards WPS officers.
“An investigation was commenced by East District General Patrol officers, where a suspect was identified and arrested. The Major Crimes Unit followed up with the investigation, and Justin Peter Bodnarchuk, 39, of Winnipeg, was charged with Utter Threats to Kill or Cause Bodily Harm x 3. He was detained in custody.”
Those posts to the business account of Aspect Fitness contained messages that were specifically threatening to women he categorized as “feminists.”
The inciting incident for this particular action was an Instagram Story shared to the Aspect account that included a reshare from a page titled Pure Patriarchal Power. Complaining of the “messed up mayhem” of having a partner with a career, Aspect Fitness included the additional caption, “Well all the feminist [sic] I know are gonna die soon. There’s about to be a major culling in this city.”
“The only good feminist is a dead feminist,” the message closes.
While police responded, as evidenced by a mocking picture posted to the Aspect Fitness account on social media, many are pointing out that Bodnarchuk has a history of using his business account to attack his critics -- especially women. This includes a sexual assault conviction while he was in university.
The second post, which included the picture of police, included members of the police department in the threats.
“Seems I got the pig’s attention,” the text reads. “Here’s some food for thought [Winnipeg Police], when I decide to fuck someone up who deserves it, and that’s most on my list (and the list goes deep), you most definitely will know about it.”
Continuing he adds that the “thing about our lovely system” is that first police would have to find him, and “second you have to prove it was me.”
“We all know you had a hard time finding me the last time. Oh, and a few of your officers might be on my list. This is going to be fun.”
Aspect Fitness and Bodnarchuk have regularly drawn criticism for making online attacks. Multiple accounts and even a website have been set up to draw attention to the numerous posts and allegations against the business owner. The most offending messages are typically confined to the business account’s Instagram stories feature -- meaning they disappear within 24 hours.
“Feminism is a greater disease than COVID-19 harming our youth every year more and more leading us further to weakness,” an alleged screenshot posted of another message from the channel reads. “Too bad most are too stupid to see it or maybe just too weak to say anything?”
Research shows that two protection orders have been taken out against the gym owner in Manitoba and that he once faced criminal charges in Ontario, though the details are not available due to a publication ban. What is available publicly, however, are responses coming from the Aspect Fitness Twitter account, some of which include overt threats towards his critics and accusers.
To one tweet calling him a “danger,” he responded, “no, I’m a danger to you though, and I’ll be seeing you soon enough.”
In another, he responded in July to a critical Tweet saying, “I hope you like the visit I’m going to be paying you very soon. Yeah, we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
The same day he also focused his ire on a local performer after the musician posted a video of a song they had written.
“You still a cripple hoping the system will save you?” the Aspect Fitness account responded to the short clip. “It’s a shame you’re such a bitch, I really could have helped you.”
The message has since been deleted for violating Twitter’s terms of service.
Several threads on the social site Reddit are also dedicated to cataloging Bodnarchuk’s history of misogynistic and sometimes threatening posts. Screenshots attributed to the now-shuttered Aspect Fitness account on Facebook shows a commenter being told “you are the kind of girl who probably would lie about rape too.”
Included alongside these have been messages about lockdowns and mask mandates being part of a larger global conspiracy to mask, and ultimately muzzle, expression.
“Just a friendly reminder it’s time to wake up. The alarm is ringing,” he wrote around a meme of masked children that included a caption saying parents were being “tricked” into doing this as part of “conditioning them for servitude.”
The Aspect Fitness accounts have been silent since the reports of the arrest. Police noted that Bodnarchuk was taken in at the time of his arrest but is no longer in custody according to the Manitoba Courts.
Bodnarchuk graduated from Lakehead University in 2010. He is listed as graduating with honours in kinesiology.
After publication, Justin Bodnarchuk contacted CAHN expressing remorse for the statements he made on social media, adding "I'm working on the things I need to work on to be a better person."