Roosh V cancels 'Return of Kings' events

Daryush Valizadeh

A controversial campaigner accused of being "pro-rape" has been forced to cancel fan meet-ups that were due to take place across the UK on Saturday.

Daryush Valizadeh - also known as Roosh V - wrote a widely criticised article last year calling for the legalisation of rape on private property as a way to "defeat rape culture".

The self-styled "neo-masculinist" has since said the post was satirical.

A petition calling to ban the UK events has attracted almost 81,000 signatures.

The Return of Kings group, which the 36-year-old American created, supports an agenda that men are superior to women and oppressed by feminism.

Group meet-ups planned for Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Shrewsbury had sparked widespread protests.

Mr Valizadeh has posted on his website that he can "no longer guarantee the safety or privacy" of attendees.

Protesters had called for the meetings to be banned and a petition lobbying the police and Home Office to ban the UK events has almost 81,000 signatures. MPs have also called for Mr Valizadeh to be banned from the UK.

Responding to an urgent question about the meetings, Home Office Minister Karen Bradley said the government "condemns in the strongest terms anyone who condones rape and sexual violence or suggests that responsibility for stopping these crimes rests with the victims".

Ms Bradley said the government would not "routinely comment on individual immigration or exclusion cases".

However, she stressed the Home Secretary had the power to ban non-British citizens if she believed their presence was "not conducive to the public good".

"The government is pleased that the Return of Kings events appear to have been cancelled," she added.

In Scotland, a Facebook page and petition were set up in protest at the planned events.

Image copyright 38Degrees

The Glaswegians Against Roosh V page states that "pro-rape women-haters are not welcome in Glasgow" and will face public ridicule when they gather in the city's George Square on Saturday.

The petition urging the Scottish government to Stop Roosh V being allowed to "promote his hateful violent views" in Scottish cities has gained more than 57,000 signatures.

Mr Valizadeh had planned "tribal meetings" for "heterosexual men only" across the globe on Saturday.

But he announced on his blog on Wednesday: "I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend on February 6, especially since most of the meet-ups can not be made private in time.

Image copyright 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 meet-ups.

"The listing page has been scrubbed of all locations. I apologize to all the supporters who are let down by my decision."

Mr Valizadeh has published 15 books on how to "pick up women".

SNP MP Owen Thompson has written to the Home Secretary calling for Roosh V to be prevented from entering the UK, although there is no suggestion he is planning to come to Scotland.

And SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has tabled an Early Day Motion at Westminster condemning the nature of the meetings.

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