Controversial pick-up artist Roosh V still held his "neomasculinity" seminar near Toronto, in spite of local protests, a petition of over 46,000 signatures and condemnation from two prominent mayors.
This confirmation comes from Daryush Valizadeh himself — better known as Roosh V — who tweeted that his "The State of Man" lecture took place in Mississauga on Saturday, and was given to "56 people."
However, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo tells the Toronto Star there's reason to doubt the validity of Valizadeh's appearance near the city. In all of the seminar leader's photos from the reported event, the participants' faces are blacked out and there are little date or location markers save for a photo of Valizadeh with a Saturday copy of the aforementioned newspaper.
“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,” said DiNovo, in an interview with the Star.
DiNovo is one of several politicians who took a critical stance about Valizadeh's scheduled lectures in Canada, joining a group that included Toronto Mayor John Tory, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, among others, in expressing their distaste for the man's practices.
Valizadeh advocates for the legalization of rape on private property, and identifies as anti-feminist. The American author is also quoted as saying, "How many no's does it take to enter a vagina?"
No stranger to controversy, Valizadeh had a beer thrown in his face before his weekend appearance in Montreal last Friday, and reportedly hired two bodyguards for extra protection at his Toronto event. His entrance into Canada also sparked debate, with a popular Change.org petitionarguing against his accommodations for the "purposes of disseminating hate." A number of anti-Valizadeh protests also popped up across the country, including one in Queen's Park on Saturday, hours before his secret event was reportedly set to start.
Change.org petition starter Sara Parker-Toulson was among those who protested Valizadeh's Toronto visit, to combat his alleged teachings of what she dubs "misogynist hate."
“My hope is that in the future, when we call something hate speech, that the authorities take us seriously, have a look and enforce the law,” said Parker-Toulson, in an interview with the Toronto Sun.
Valizadeh's Toronto-area speech has yet to be confirmed by a Canadian news outlet.
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