A blogger and founder of a self-proclaimed "men's rights" group has canceled meetups in at least 43 countries around the world after concerns from the public and law enforcement about the group's real purpose began to grow.
Roosh V, whose real name is Daryush Valizadeh, canceled all events planned for Saturday, Feb. 6. Meetups had been planned in dozens of U.S. cities, including Austin, Dallas, Atlanta, Des Moines, Boston, Boulder, Seattle, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Valizadeh posted a message to his blog apologizing to the men he had "let down" with his decision.
"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 to 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."
According to Snopes.com, the group's website, called Return of Kings, never publicly advocated for the rape of women in connection with Saturday's events. However posts on the blog regularly contain rape-themed content, including the position that the rape of women within a dwelling should be made legal.
In a 2015 blog post, Valizadeh 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 Facebook page was set up in Orlando to protest the Saturday meetup, originally planned to take place at Lake Eola. Police there said they planned to take no action, WFTV reported.
"Their views are protected by the First Amendment and as with all First Amendment activity we ensure the safety of the public while protecting the rights of all. No we do not believe certain groups are at risk," the Orlando police said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took a stronger stand, saying the group was not welcome.
“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.”
Police in Des Moines may have had the strongest reaction, calling the meetings a possible ruse to commit rape.
In the U.K., more than 80,000 people signed a petition to ban the group from entering the U.K. after it advocated for women losing the right to vote, The Guardian reported.
In addition to running his blog, Valizadeh has written anti-feminist books that detail his methods for luring women into having sex with him. In one ironically named web page, called "How to stop rape," he writes:
“Without daddy government to protect her, a girl would absolutely not enter a private room with a man she doesn’t know or trust unless she is absolutely sure she is ready to sleep with him. Consent is now achieved when she passes underneath the room’s door frame, because she knows that that man can legally do anything he wants to her when it comes to sex. Bad encounters are sure to occur, but these can be learning experiences for the poorly trained woman so she can better identify in the future the type of good man who will treat her like the delicate flower that she believes she is.”
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