Julien Blanc, shown with a horrible T-shirt to the left, and with his hand around his woman's throat to the right. Photo via Facebook.
Over the weekend, a movement to #KeepJulienBlancOutofCanada gained enough momentum to be reported in the mainstream press. If you're not familiar with Julien Blanc, he's a so-called "dating coach" whose Canadian business partner Owen Cook (who calls himself Tyler Durden, since Fight Club is really cool) is well known for his role as the pick-up artist (PUA) villain in Neil Strauss's bestselling PUA bible: The Game
Cook and Blanc are part of a PUA posse called Real Social Dynamics. The RSD gang fly all around the world to teach men about getting women into bed. According to their website, they are holding a PUA bootcamp (where men " go out into nightclubs, bars, cafes... and meet girls" with an instructor who monitors them) in Toronto in January, but there are no details about a location or any other specifics that would indicate it's a real event.
Blanc, who owns the domain pimpingmygame.com, also sells a package of instructional videos called Pimp. He claims that once a man has learned all there is to learn from Pimp, he will have a "PHD in female attraction" and will "develop panty-dropping masculinity." On some level, it sounds like the kind of love potion you would buy out of the back of a 1960s comic book.
A screenshot from the Pimp website, showing Blanc with various women.
While the idea of PUAs in general is enough to make most rational people feel uncomfortable, Julien Blanc ratchets up the awfulness of gaming and manipulating women to such a degree that his behaviour veers into the lane of abuse and harassment. In a video that's received well over a million views, Blanc is shown telling a room of men:
"[In Tokyo]... if you're a white male, you can do what you want. [My friend told me] just grab her... So I pull her in, and she just laughs and giggles. And all you have to say, to take the pressure off, is just yell 'Pikachu, or Pokemon, or Tamagotchi or something.'
So I'm romping through the streets, just grabbing girls, and my open [PUA-speak for pick-up line] is just [grabbing a girl's] head [and putting it] on [my] dick. Head on dick. Yelling Pikachu with a Pikachu shirt."
"It's the happiest I've ever been. What's fucked, too, is that every foreigner (who's white at least) does this. You'll be roaming through the streets, and there's Japanese people everywhere, and you'll spot that one foreigner. And your eyes will lock. And you know that he knows, and he knows that you know, and it's like this guilty look—like you both fucked a hooker or something. And you just wait for him to pass, and then phew, you're back at it. It's awesome."
Where to begin, here... First of all, dummy, I'm willing to wager that the guilt you're experiencing isn't the result of something even remotely similar to "fucking a hooker." Rather it's the guilt from rampantly sexually harassing women in a strange country; and you're feeling guilty somewhere in the messy swamp of your subconscious because you're taking advantage of your boorish white guy size in order to abuse strangers.
Second, it's clear that Blanc has become so enraptured by his own insane, abusive philosophy and inflated ego that he assumes all other white men in Tokyo are also grabbing women by the head and rubbing the unsuspecting women's faces into their presumably pre-ripped and unwashed jeans. This kind of thinking takes the ordinarily offensive mantras of PUAs who try and manipulate women into sleeping with them from the category of creepy, to full-on abuse.
The video of Blanc concludes with actual footage of him doing exactly what he brags about in the hotel conference room—just in case you couldn't actually believe that someone would be capable of such awful behaviour. Numerous Japanese women, with their faces blurred, are pictured being grabbed forcefully by Blanc as he laughs it off.
On top of all that, a tweet scraped from Blanc's now-deleted Twitter account shows a chart detailing the symptoms of a physically abusive relationship. In his tweet, he refers to it as a "checklist" for how to make a woman stay with you.
After more than nine women came forward to disclose their allegations about Jian Ghomeshi abusing them, with the vicious online misogyny of #GamerGate still percolating in the media, and given abusive and harassing sexual scandals emerging in sports—like the Ray Rice debacle or the lesser-known OHL Tinder fiasco—the level of media coverage paid to men abusing and harassing women may be at an all-time high.
I'm not so naive to think, however, that this necessarily indicates a sea change is coming. The effort to ban Blanc from Canada, for example, has its own counter-movement in the form of a Facebook page called " RSD Julien Official Fanboy Page." It boasts a whopping 24 likes. On it, statuses like the "Japanese girls were loving it, otherwise he would have stopped" and "Stopping sexual assault is definitely supported, but stopping people from developing as a person is an even bigger crime" have attracted the ire of understandably angry people.
Underneath the bad grammar and unwavering support of Blanc on that Facebook page, however, is the argument that groups like RSD help depressed and unconfident men meet women. And to some extent, with well-intentioned advisors, I'm sure some PUAs can provide that kind of support. In an article that we ran earlier this year, where our own Sarah Ratchford spoke with a PUA who wanted to clear the air about his craft, Ratchford was told many men approach pick-up artistry honestly:
"...let's say a man turns up without any experience [with women]. So he doesn't have any sisters, he grew up in a single-parent home, his cousins [are male and he has] all brothers. He doesn't have a lot of examples of how to interact with women. And the only times he interacts with women are in public spheres, like school, or college, and women exist more on the periphery. So the discussion becomes, 'Well, how do we interact with them?' Some people get very lucky and they learn how to interact, but some people never do. And they get to the point where it's like, 'This whole thing of a man meeting a woman, it's not working for me, so what's going on?'"
But obviously the tone and behaviour of Blanc's teachings are a different beast than the type of sincere assistance for clueless men that the PUA above is describing. The change.org petition to keep Julien away from Canadian soil has over 1,800 signatures at press time. Its stated mission is described partially as such: "This individual's presence in Canada would be a clear danger to our women and a destructive influence towards our youth. Julien Blanc coaches seminar participants to dominate women using vile, manipulative techniques such as economic abuse, isolation, coercion and threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, and 'male privilege.'"
The petition is addressed to Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Blanc has already caught the attention of Australia's police force, who notified the world via Twitter when Blanc left the country after having his visa revoked following a string of protests at his seminars. And a recent report questions whether or not Blanc can be banned from Japan as well.
While it does not appear as if Blanc has been charged with a crime pertaining to his abusive behaviour, his attitude towards abusing women, along with video proof that he engages in said abuse, should be enough to keep him out of Canada. We certainly don't need any more abusive men here, and if the Aussies gave him the boot, Canada should keep him away too. I mean, we turn people away at the border for DUIs or for being great rappers, so why not add Blanc to the pile as well?
Julien Blanc and his partner Owen Cook did not respond to multiple requests for comment from VICE.