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Should we try and ban this 'pro-rape' pick up artist?

Thousands of Scots have signed a petition to stop Roosh V, an anti-feminist pick up artist, from entering the country. But is banning him really the answer?

Thousands of people have signed a petition to stop Roosh V – real name Daryush Valizadeh – from entering Scotland.

If you’re fortunate enough not to have come across Roosh V, the self-styled ‘neo-masculinist’ blogs on his anti-feminist website Return of Kings about different methods of coercing women into sex.

The entire website is pretty awful, and I’m not going to link to it here for the obvious reason of not wanting to give Roosh V clicks, but a cursory trawl through the site reveals helpful pickup tips such as “stop asking for permission” and “effective strategies to steamroll her resistance so you won’t get blueballed”. If you’re thinking, hey, this sounds bad but maybe Roosh V doesn’t actually advocate rape – you’re wrong. In February last year Roosh V published an article called “How to stop rape” in which he advocated legalizing rape, as long as it was on private property. He later claimed it was all some intellectual thought exercise and us angry feminists were just humourless killjoys who were missing the joke. Thing is, even if the post was an unbelievably crass joke, it doesn’t change the fact that Roosh V is at the forefront of culture that is pro-rape – unless you think that telling your supporters to get women so drunk they end up sleeping with you is in some way ok.

Look, all of this is unbelievably awful, and it would almost be funny were it not for the fact that Roosh V actually has fans. Fans who are willing to travel, and pay to listen to Roosh V espousing his vile, women-hating and LGBT-phobic views (only heterosexual men are allowed to attend the so-called ‘meet ups’). Events are being held at eight locations across the UK this weekend, with proposed cities including London, Glasgow and Newcastle. Roosh V has gone into full-on Jason Bourne mode, setting out a lengthy list of security protocols on his website so that all the women-hating bros who probably still live at home with their Mums can pretend they’re fighting in an underground resistance rather than paying to hear vile misogynistic bullshit in the feeble hope of getting laid.

A petition has been started to ban Roosh V from entering Scotland. The petition, which has 51,000 signatures, states that “promoting rape is hate speech, and should be treated as such”. According to Roosh V’s own Twitter feed, he’s received more hate from Scotland than from the rest of the UK combined. Meanwhile, a number of Scottish National Party politicians have come out against Roosh V being allowed to enter the country. SNP MP Owen Thompson has written to the UK government calling on them to ban Roosh V from entering the country, while a fellow SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has tabled a motion in Westminster making the same request.

The broader question is of whether we should ban people from entering the country just because we don't agree with their views. Sure – Roosh V is a horrible misogynist. But if we ban him, aren't we in danger of stifling free speech? We can't counter extremists just by shutting them down, or by turning our backs on them when they try to speak – like Brunel University students did recently at a panel event featuring migrant-hating Katie Hopkins. Far better to listen to what they have to say, then prove to them why they're wrong – using logic and facts, you know, that stuff they tried to teach us in school.

That said, if there’s any Scottish Dazed readers who are free this weekend and fancy chucking some Iron-Bru at Roosh V’s pathetic little gaggle of bros – that’s cool with us.