Note: This post also appears at Autostraddle.
On Thursday the Australian immigration services announced that it had revoked the immigration visa of an American named Julien Blanc who was hosting a series of ‘pickup artists’ seminars that aim to teach men how to manipulate women into sexual intercourse through psychological, emotional and physical violence. Blanc, who openly brags about his violent history that includes placing women in chokeholds, was deported from Australia overnight.
The movement to deport Blanc was spearheaded by feminist activist Jennifer Li, who started the twitter hashtag #takedownjulienblanc over which much of the organizing was conducted that led to a series of hotels and other venues canceling his scheduled appearances. It was also over this hashtag that activists shared information about the Blanc’s violent history as well as the misogynistic company he represents, Real Social Dynamics (RSD), which bills itself as a “dating coach company.”
However, Blanc reportedly has further RSD events scheduled in Tokyo for Nov. 15-17 of this month (though I have also heard reports that the events are scheduled for Nov. 25-27, so there is still some uncertainty on the specifics).
When we discuss this man’s history here in Japan, it becomes difficult to overstate what a truly disgusting individual Julien Blanc is. In video footage of one of his previous seminars, Blanc talks about the “happiest [he has] ever been,” when he was celebrating his chickenshit pickup artist culture at Tokyo nightclubs by grabbing Japanese women and forcefully shoving their faces into his crotch. And no he isn’t just talking about it, video footage exists not only of him engaging in this behavior, but also of him grabbing a convenience store clerk over the counter in what appears to be a forced sexual embrace.
In his seminar, Blanc advocates that a violent white male misogynist like himself should yell, “Pikachu!” when he grabs a Japanese woman to shove her face into his crotch.
While it remains unclear whether Blanc’s deportation from Australia will affect his November schedule for Japan, the issue has begun to attract local attention and a bilingual petition has been raised demanding that the Japan Department of Immigration deny him entry to the country. The petition has already received over 22,000 signatures (please add your own signature here). A widely shared video has also been created by popular vlogger Rachel of Rachel and Jun:
I also note from the schedule on their website that RSD has three further events scheduled for Tokyo during the dates Jan. 15-17 of 2015, including one of their pickup artist “bootcamps” designed for idiot heterosexual males who feel the need to psychologically degrade women because those men have no redeeming qualities for which any woman would ever genuinely be attracted to them.
In the meantime, I hope that feminist activists and allies here in Japan can begin trying to find the scheduled locations for these events and attempt to have the venues canceled. Here I think we can take courage from the example set by Jennifer Li and activists in Australia who experienced phenomenal success at pushing not only Julien Blanc but also another RSD employee out of Australia.
Indeed, the organizing conducted on #takedownjulienblanc ultimately led to a dramatic real life standoff on Thursday evening, when Blanc was planning to give one of his pickup seminars to a group of men on a boat (apparently as an alternate location after one of the original venues had canceled). Blanc himself didn’t show (maybe he was already in custody at that point, or maybe he had just chickened out), but his RSD buddy showed up to give the presentation in his place. Protestors surrounded the boat and some attempted to board it in order to disrupt the event; eventually police and the operators of the boat came to an agreement such that the male participants were led off the boat as protestors chanted “Walk of shame!” at them.
Let’s hope the only walk of shame happening in Japan will be the violent misogynist Julien Blanc being walked back onto the plane.
And by the way Julien, as a proud American expat in Japan, I have it on good authority that Pikachu despises everything about you.