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Pickup artist cancels covert international meetup

Daryush Valizadeh folds in the face of public outrage

Daryush Valizadeh, a pickup artist and writer behind the “neomasculinity” website Return of Kings, has cancelled worldwide meetups for his followers in the face of intense public backlash. Valizadeh was lambasted for his views on the inferiority of women, the upsides of misogyny, the uncleanliness of gay men, and for advocating that rape should be legal if done on private property.

Earlier this month, Valizadeh, who goes by the alias “Roosh V,” announced a worldwide meetup of like minded men, including in 10 Canadian cities. Men were supposed to meet covertly, even using a secret passphrase to identify each other. 

After a wave of negative publicity, however, Valizadeh now says he will not take responsibility for the meetings. “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,” he announced on Return of Kings. “While I can’t stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official 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.”

In the last two days, the mayors of Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver all took to Twitter to condemn Valizadeh, his meetups and his ideology. “Hatred and misogyny have absolutely no place in Vancouver or anywhere else in this world,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson tweeted. Australia’s immigration minister went so far as to say Valizadeh is not welcome in the country.

This is not the first time Valizadeh has raised ire in Canada. Last year, while visiting Montreal on a pickup artistry tour, a woman in Montreal threw a drink in his face at a bar, and 40,000 people signed a petition to ban him from the country.