Julien Blanc is scheduled to visit the UK for a “lecture” series on how to assault women, but there’s a petition drive urging the government to deny him a visa.
Thousands of people have called on the Home Office to deny a visa to a controversial US “pick-up artist” who holds seminars that critics say teach men sexually abusive and racist tricks to attract women.
Well, you know, it’s not really “critics say” – it’s just an obvious fact. It’s no good pretending that grabbing strangers by the back of the head and pushing them onto your crotch is not sexually abusive. It’s no good pretending that’s just “banter” or “flirtation” or “seduction.”
The City worker who started the petition said Blanc’s seminars promoted dangerous behaviour and attitudes towards women. Caroline Charles, a pseudonym she is using because of the abuse and vitriol experienced by other female campaigners against sexism, said: “Julien Blanc dresses up his seminars as dating advice, which at best is disingenuous – he focuses on tricking women into having sex, in order to make money.
“It is wrong on every level – it is promoting violence against women and girls, it takes advantage of men and it sends a message to survivors of sexual assault that they will not be listened to. To allow someone into the UK who is explicitly promoting these things is abysmal.”
It also conflates rape with sex, which seems like a bad idea for everyone except possibly committed puritans.
Video clips of Blanc on YouTube show him shoving women’s faces into his crotch and on one occasion assaulting a Japanese checkout worker – who appears to be deeply uncomfortable – by kissing her neck and ear. He is shown speaking to a room full of men who laugh at his anecdotes, at one point commenting about women in Japan: “If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick.”
This is what I’m saying. The shoving faces into his crotch part isn’t free speech in any sense, it’s assault. The videos aren’t assault, but they are promoting assault. I don’t think assault-promotion should be protected speech.
Sarah Green from the End Violence Against Women coalition said that there was a strong legal case for denying Blanc a temporary work visa for the UK. “Some of the behaviour Blanc demonstrates in his videos amounts to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” she said. “More broadly this is part of a culture that makes light of assault, that tells victims they will not be taken seriously. We need a social conversation about why this type of ‘advice’ is commercially viable.”
The threshold for denying a temporary work visa is a lot lower than the threshold for, say, arrest, I’m guessing. I don’t think Julien Blanc should get a temporary work visa for the kind of “work” he does.