On the 6th of February, a “men’s rights” meetup organized by Daryush “Roosh” Valizdeh was planned for the Cross Street Market in Baltimore, MD as one of 165 similar meetups on an “International Meetup Day.” Roosh is infamous for calling for the legalization of rape as well as for preaching hatred against women in general and GLBT people in particular. The Baltimore Bloc organized a counterprotest against these pro-rape men, and not a single one of them could be found at their Baltimore meetup location.
Participants in the Baltimore meetup were supposed to show up at Cross Street Market and ask for directions to the nearest pet shop as a signal to oneanother. The only reference to that found at the Cross Street Market was a sign in the hands of protesters. Meanwhile, some of the women speaking in front of the Cross Street Market recounted their own experiences as rape survivors. They had the courage to show up, Roosh’s “Return of Kings” crew did not.
Three days before the event, Roush’s “Return of Kings” website and Twitter posts claimed the event was cancelled but activists suspected a ruse. Another protest in New York City against another of these meetups surrounded a hotel where one of these “men’s rights” meetups was suspected of having shown up. In Baltimore protesters took no chances. At one point a black SUV with a bunch of men inside was spotted leaving the area, but they turned out to be cops, not Roosh’s thugs.
Roosh’s website did list “protocols” for attending “private meetups” along with a statement that he would try to salvage as many of the meetups as possible. The requirements for being emailed to location of one of the private meetups were either a disqus account from which a friendly comment had been left on his site prior to Jan 15, a screenshot of one or Roosh’s books purchased before Jan 15, or an active account on his website dating to before Jan 15. In addition, Rooosh said men were welcome to conduct “unoffical” meetups. This being so, it is apparent that the cancellation Tweets and postings were indeed a ruse and protesters made the right decision to deploy to the sites where Roosh meetups had been announced. Still, there was no sign of Roosh’s event in Baltimore, and what must of been one of these “private” meetups was found and placed under siege by activists in New York.
In New York City, protesters beseiged the Dream Hotel, where a Roosh event was suspected of taking place in spite of the claimed cancellation. One of the signs there said blunty that “you can’t rape a .38,” a slogan also referenced in some of the chants. At least one person was reportedly arrested at the NYC protest. The events of NY lend further credence to suspicions that the Twitter and web postings claiming the meetups were cancelled were hoaxes aimed at deceiving anti-rape activists.
Return of Kings (ROK) is known not only for sexist but also racist commentary such as “Should men start to forget about their skin color for too long, feminists in the media will make sure to report more racial conflicts,” which sounds like something the KKK would say. In fact, the blunt call for legalizing rape that Roosh has issued means his group is to women what the KKK is to African-Americans, especially when the long history of rape is put alongside the long history of lynchings. Roosh’s “Return of Kings” wants to legalize rape while the KKK wants to legalize lynchings, in both cases to make the worst fears of their intended victims official social policy. Many at the Baltimore protest brought this up, explicitly comparing not only Return of Kings but also the MRA (Men’s Rights Association) to the Klan. One more way this was like a Klan march is the fact that they tapped out, not showing up for their own event in the face of counterprotesters.
Interestingly, it appears from some of the Return of Kings Twitter posts that Roosh has endorsed Donald Trump for President, though the link to his website with that post cannot be followed due to the DDOS attack by Anonymous.
Strangely, with all the misogyny and hate, Roosh also claims to be a pick-up artist! Not said is WHAT he is picking up, surely lots of places could use a “pick up artist” who specializes in say, cleaning up pet waste. Nearest pet shop? Yes, Roosh and his boys will need a lot of scoops for that!