After outcry from people around the world, the followers of a U.S. blogger who had previously advocated for the legalization of rape won’t be meeting in Vancouver after all this weekend.
Dayrush Valizadeh, known online simply as Roosh V, took to his website on Wednesday to cancel a series of meet ups due to take place in more than 43 countries across the globe over safety concerns.
“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 posted on his website. “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.”
Public figures including Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson had spoken out in protest to the proposed events. “Vancouver is known throughout the world for our steadfast commitment to inclusion, equality, and freedom from discrimination and hatred,” Robertson told Vancity Buzz in a statement. “We strive for all residents to feel safe regardless of their gender, sexuality, faith, or ethnicity – and the violent and hateful positions spread by this organization are about as far apart from Vancouver’s values as I can imagine.”
Valizadeh, who runs the controversial Return of Kings website that discusses topics like “female privilege,” and taking away voting rights for women, had also faced opposition from local women’s rights groups.
Amidst a storm of publicity Valizadeh has since claimed that his stance on rape was satirical.