London - A free speech row erupted on Wednesday night after a self-styled US “pick up artist” was banned from Britain for allegedly promoting violence and harassment of women.
Julien Blanc, who was accused of holding “sexist and utterly abhorrent views” by MPs and feminist campaigners, was denied a visa by the Home Office after an internet petition attracted 150 000 signatures. A social media campaign began against him last week after footage emerged of the 25-year-old using racist language and grabbing women by the throat.
Blanc, who had used the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld on social media, had wanted to host a series of seminars in London, charging up to £1 200 for a three-day course, offering tips to men on how to attract women. Critics say his methods, such as threatening to commit suicide and isolating women from friends, are abusive and controlling.
Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone, who had demanded his exclusion from the UK, said: “Julien Blanc’s presence in the UK could have led to an increase in sexual violence and harassment. I am delighted that Mr Blanc won’t be coming to our shores.”