A controversial men’s rights group, headed up by a self-proclaimed “pick up artist” and “legalized rape” blogger, planned meetups worldwide for its like-minded members, but cancelled the events after widespread criticism including from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, founder of the online group “Return of Kings,” planned an international meetup day for “165 meetings in 43 countries,” on Sat., Feb. 6, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Seven of them were scheduled for the Texas cities of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Denton and Nederland.
The group purportedly advocates for men’s dominance over women. Their event page boasted: “On February 6 at 8PM, readers from over 40 countries will meet in one of the biggest meetups the world has seen. This will be the start of regular meetups that serve men in a way that internet sites do not.”
After reports of the group’s planned meetups in Texas municipalities, Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a statement Wednesday: “This pathetic group and their disgusting viewpoints are not welcome in Texas. I’ve spent much of my career protecting women from such vile and heinous acts, and it won’t be any different on my watch as Governor.”
Similarly, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called the group repulsive and not welcome in the city.
Late Wednesday, Valizadeh suddenly cancelled all 165 meetups, claiming: “I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend on February 6, especially since most of the meetups can not be made private in time. While I can’t stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Valizadeh since Return Of Kings meetups. The listing page has been scrubbed of all locations. I apologize to all the supporters who are let down by my decision.”
Valizadeh, known as Roosh V on Twitter, describes himself on the social media site as “infamous” and “developing neomasculinity platform for men in the cyber “manosphere.” On his Return of Kings webpage, he open shares his viewpoints, writing on the rules of the group page: “Women and homosexuals are strongly discouraged from commenting here.”
He has blogged When No Means Yes and How to Stop Rape, the latter in which he proposes the legalization of rape on private property as a means to stop rape, writing: “I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds.”
In the piece, he also wrote:”If rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone… a girl will not enter an impaired state of mind where she can’t resist being dragged off to a bedroom with a man who she is unsure of—she’ll scream, yell, or kick at his attempt while bystanders are still around. If rape becomes legal, she will never be unchaperoned with a man she doesn’t want to sleep with. After several months of advertising this law throughout the land, rape would be virtually eliminated on the first day it is applied.”
Wednesday, he tweeted his the pro-rape piece was only “satire.”
I’ll state once again: the “How To Stop Rape” article was satire. Neither me or my supporters want rape to be legalized. The media is lying.
— Roosh (@rooshv) February 3, 2016
The CBS-TV local affiliate and other news organizations pointed out that when Valizadeh wrote the aforementioned article in February 2015, there was nothing to indicate in the article or on his website, directly or indirectly, to tip off a reader that this piece was meant to be satirical. Now, there is a bolded disclaimer, insisting “How to Stop Rape” was not to be taken seriously.
One of the venues listed by Return of Kings as a meetup site was the British Beverage Company in Dallas. Management did not even know anything was planned by the group but employees told CBS DFW that several customers called, concerned about the group showing up. The restaurant intends to have extra security on hand Saturday as a precaution, despite the group announcing the meet-up was cancelled. Additionally, Dallas police said they are monitoring the matter and will respond accordingly.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.