US 'pro-rape advocate' cancels event here

Controversial US pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, known also as Roosh V.
Controversial US pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, known also as Roosh V.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ROOSHV.COM

Police remind public not to take part or organise public assembly without a permit

Police have reminded the public that it is illegal to organise or take part in a public assembly without a permit, as a meeting here organised by controversial US pick-up artist and "pro-rape advocate" Daryush Valizadeh was cancelled.

Singapore had been among 43 countries due to host an "international meet-up" but Saturday night's event at Fort Canning Park was called off by Mr Valizadeh following a backlash in many countries. He said in a blog post yesterday that he could "no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend".

The gathering, one out of 165 due to take place around the world that day, was meant to be for "heterosexual men" to discuss his views.

Mr Valizadeh, who uses the name Roosh V, runs a blog called Return Of Kings that holds contentious views which elevate men by demeaning women. He could not be reached for comment.

The 36-year-old received widespread condemnation after publishing a blog post in which he said that the solution for rape charges against men would be to "make rape legal if done on private property". He later claimed that the post was meant to be satirical.

He had argued that if a woman allows herself into a man's house, it means she has consented to sex.

A police spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that they were aware of the plan to hold a meeting in Singapore. He said that had it taken place without a police permit, it would have constituted an offence under the Public Order Act.

A petition calling for Mr Valizadeh to be banned from Britain has surpassed 55,000 signatures.

In Singapore, a similar petition against the meet-up has garnered more than 300. Started on Wednesday, it called for Singaporeans to unite and for the Government to prevent Mr Valizadeh and his followers from promoting their views here.

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) said there is not much sign that the group has a real presence here.

"It's easy to put out a list of cities, much harder to actually organise gatherings," said a spokesman. "Let's starve this attention-seeking troll of the oxygen of publicity."

Posting on his Facebook page yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said it was important to stand up to misogynists like Mr Valizadeh, and also less obvious forms of discrimination, such as those who disrespect and violate women in more subtle ways, along with those who "mistreat the elderly, abuse the young, or discriminate and ridicule those with different sexual orientation".

In 2014, US-based pick-up artist Julien Blanc was barred from entering Singapore to conduct his seminars following an online petition.

Mr Blanc came under fire when material from his courses were revealed to contain tactics appearing to suggest physical violence, intimidation and emotional abuse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'US 'pro-rape advocate' cancels event here'. Print Edition | Subscribe