The presence of a self-described “pick-up artist” scheduled to speak in Toronto on Saturday was the reason for a demonstration near Queen’s Park.
Roosh V, also known as Daryush Valizadeh, is an author and blogger who has said rape shouldn’t be a crime on private property. He often gives speeches and talks about his views, which include adherence to “traditional” gender roles.
The “Demonstration Against Rape Culture” gathered behind the provincial legislature building at a public park near Wellesley Street West and Queen’s Park Crescent East.
Organizers say the event is meant to promote “peaceful, loving, CONSENSUAL relationships between all people and orientations” and that the “attitudes and practices of Roosh V and his ilk harm our communities and endanger the lives and wellbeing [sic] of us all.”
One of Valizadeh’s most controversial blog posts, published in February, argues that making rape legal in a private home would eliminate any ambiguity surrounding consent by forcing women to fend off unwanted sexual encounters.
“I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds,” he wrote.
“Without daddy government to protect her, a girl would absolutely not enter a private room with a man she doesn’t know or trust unless she is absolutely sure she is ready to sleep with him.”
Earlier this week, Toronto mayor John Tory described Valizadeh’s views as “hate speech” and called on anyone hosting his speaking tour to cancel the event.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) August 11, 2015
Valizadeh replied on Twitter, accusing the media and the mayor of “frothing up a potentially dangerous mob.”
Thanks to the Canadian media and Mayor Tory for frothing up a potentially dangerous mob, I've hired bodyguards. Canada has lost its mind.
— Roosh (@rooshv) August 12, 2015
— Roosh (@rooshv) August 14, 2015
The location and time of Valizadeh’s talk in Toronto is not yet known, and he was doing his best to keep it that way.
Valizadeh was aware of the demonstration at Queen’s Park, and took to his online forum to urge the spread “disinformation” about where he would be speaking, telling supporters to “give fake news tips to reporters.”
“There will be a protest in Queen’s Park at 12. We have a few spies going there. If you live in Toronto and are free, stop by and shoot some video. I’m sure we’ll have some lulz [sic] afterwards from their award-winning speeches on rape culture.
“It’s been a long week but I’m ready to finish the job we came out to do and leave Canada as conquerors.”
I'll now attempt to give my speech in Toronto, just like in Montreal. Whatever happens, Canada will never forget us. pic.twitter.com/Ji2iP8nzLJ
— Roosh (@rooshv) August 15, 2015
With files from Erin Criger