A blogger who once argued rape should be legal if done on private property has launched an “International Meetup Day” where followers are expected to gather furtively Saturday night in various locations throughout the world.
The website Return of Kings is hosting the event, promising a total of 165 meetings in 43 countries, which will all take place Saturday night. Return of Kings is run by Daryush Valizadeh, better known as Roosh V — a self-described pickup artist who sparked international outrage last year after he authored a blog post supporting “legal rape.”
“I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds,” he wrote on his blog in February 2015.
Mr. Valizadeh said on Twitter Tuesday night that the blog post was meant to be satire, but the backlash continued. Mayors in the U.K., Australia and Canada have publicly condemned the blogger, and petitions have been launched to revoke his travel rights. A U.K. petition calling for him to banned from the country before scheduled meet-ups in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Cardiff has surpassed 50,000 signatures, even though he is not expected to be present at those meetings. Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton responded to the controversy Tuesday, saying “People who advocate violence against women are not welcome” in the country. Mr. Valizadeh, of Maryland, said he would be joining the activists on Saturday in Washington, D.C. only.
Despite meeting in a public place, the gatherings will be run very furtively. In Chicago, the men are told to meet at a flagpole near Rogers Park on Saturday at 8 p.m., where they are instructed to ask “Do you know where I can find a pet shop?”
Members who are part of the group are to respond, “Yes it’s right here.”
At 8:20 p.m., the men will follow their designated group leader to another secret meeting location, DNAInfo reported. The password procedure will run the same way for the other meetings as well.
The group has banned women, gay and trans men, and men under 21 from attending.
Mr. Valizadeh said the meetings are meant to help his followers build “normal friendships” without having to hide behind a computer screen.
“Up to now, the enemy has been able to exert their power by isolating us and attacking with shrieking mobs, but we’ll be able to neutralize that tactic by amassing in high numbers come February 6,” he wrote, DNAInfo reported. “I will exact furious retribution upon anyone who challenges you in public on that date.”
Chicago’s FURIE (Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation) will be hosting a counter-protest at Rogers Park at the same time. More than 180 people had RSVP’d by Tuesday afternoon.
According to their Facebook event, “[W]e’re gonna [expletive] with them. We too will converge at the flagpole! We too will mutter secret codes! BECAUSE WE’RE WITCHES AND THEY’RE GONNA GET HEXED AS [expletive].”
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