Real life internet troll disguised as motivational speaker and pick-up artist, Roosh V, managed to hold his controversial seminar in Mississauga this past Saturday despite protests. Not even a petition to keep him out of Canada signed by over 45,000 people, numerous politicians (including Toronto mayor, John Tory) tweeting their disapproval of him, and a protest at Nathan Phillips Square attended by thousands could silence Roosh V (real name Daryush Valizadeh) and his anti-feminist views.
The location of the seminar is still a mystery, but on Saturday night, Valizadeh tweeted a photo of himself holding The Toronto Star in a room filled with 56 people who had (supposedly) shown up to hear him speak. His message to Canada was, “BACK TO BACK VICTORY. We won in Montreal and we won in Toronto. We will not be silenced.” Okay, sure— if spreading your hate speech to fewer than 100 people is a victory, you won.
People like Roosh V know that what they’re saying isn’t going to be popular. And that’s exactly why they say it. His marketing strategy is to be a complete asshole and get people worked up enough to talk about it, because to him publicity is publicity.
He might have claimed victory against all his Canadian protestors, but as NDP MPP Cheri DiNova points, his so-called proof isn’t all that convincing. In his photo, all the attendees’ faces are blurred out, and while the newspaper may prove the photo was taken on Saturday, it doesn’t prove where it was taken. “I think that people recognize the criminal that he is and that’s why he’s hiding and evading and wouldn’t say where he actually spoke,” DiNova told the Star.
Valizadeh’s brand of “neomasculinity” claims that making rape legal would encourage women to work harder to protect their own bodies, essentially saying that it’s a woman’s responsibility to prevent rape. As if masculinity means taking what you want when you want it, no matter what anyone else says.
Some of his other blog posts have included “Don’t Work for a Female Boss” and “5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder”. He claims he is advocating for men to improve themselves and become more traditionally masculine, and it has nothing to do with promoting violence against women.
But all this bad publicity is going to eventually catch up with him, because unfortunately the support of 100 people isn’t going to go very far. A change.org petition calling for Amazon to stop selling Valizadeh’s books has been launched, and it already has 34,000 signatures. So, while he might think his ability to inspire protests are a great marketing strategy, it might also be the thing that destroys him.