Julien Blanc has gone from the cheap idol of a few sad souls deep inside the Internet to one of the most hated men in the world. And all within a couple of weeks. Why? Erm… well, where to start…?
Let’s begin with the very basics: Julien Blanc is a racist and a sexist, hiding behind the guise of a Pick Up Artist (PUA) to intimidate, degrade, denigrate and abuse women. He also manages to make a fair bit of cash in dispensing such quality advice in any number of seminars across the world. Depressing, no?
Pick Up Artists received a lot of media attention after the release of Neil Strauss’ The Game, an autobiog-cum-travelog of sorts that followed the author on his journey of learning how to pick up women via a series of odd and questionable methods. There’s ‘negging’ and ‘peacocking’… essentially we’re dealing with people who see their peak achievements as trying to coerce, manipulate and lie as many women into bed as possible. Lovely stuff.
While PUAs have always been treated with a sense of unease, disgust and pity, matters came to a head recently when variations of this video went viral:
Julien Blanc is an instructor employed by a company called Real Social Dynamics (RSD). RSD pride themselves on providing their clients with “a unique opportunity to meet its dating coaches, become their wingmen, learn from countless hours of field research, witness dating coaches attract beautiful women in live demonstrations in real-world scenarios, and have them as their personal coach & image consultant.”
As the video clearly shows, his advice for trying to woo Japanese women involved shouting “Pikachu!” and “Tamagotchi!” at them before forcibly pushing their heads towards your dick. We’re also told that as a white male in Tokyo “you can do anything you want.” Sound advice, Mr Blanc! Further stereotypical portrayals of Japanese women as giggling, childish nymphs were also espoused, tipping even more gas on the raging fire.
Both inspired and annoyed by Blanc’s predatory advice and behaviour, the Internet mobilized and #TakeDownJulienBlanc began to trend worldwide for days. The fallout was, without wanting to overstate it, immense.
Jennifer Li was the person responsible for #TakeDownJulienBlanc, after stumbling across the original video during some late night browsing. Disgusted and angered by Blanc’s advice and methods, Jennifer sought to highlight and eradicate the menace of the PUAs, RSD and Blanc.
With further digging into Blanc’s techniques via old tweets and site posts, thousands began to join together to castigate a man they believed to be promoting misogyny and domestic violence to many impressionable ‘customers’.
Faced by a public onslaught, venues in Australia and the US began to cancel seminars of Blanc’s that had been booked. Blanc began the process of a speedy backtrack as his Twitter was stripped of old tweets, many of his YouTube videos became private and his Instagram account was closed down manually.
Having made it to Australia to conduct his series of seminars, Blanc was faced with petitions, protests and mid-show cancellations. The final blow came when Australia rescinded his visa, a move quickly copied by the United Kingdom. Other countries have since petitioned their authorities to follow suit.
As of now, Blanc is a man in disgrace with the world’s media tearing him down, and perhaps millions of ordinary people voicing their indignation at his teachings.
RSD, via the classic damage limitation method, decried the video and all the rest as “absolutely stupid”, while a disastrous appearance on CNN only dug Blanc’s grave deeper, despite his protestations that his patter was simply “a horrible, horrible attempt at humor.” This was an apology described by Li as “full of shit.”
As is ever the case in these situations, supporters of Blanc stated that his right to free speech had been negated and taken away from him. A number of counter-petitions clamouring for such recognition began in earnest. Supporters claim that as man who has not been convicted of any crime, his rejected visas are unfair.
Speaking to BaDoink, Jennifer Li said: “When I first started this, I didn’t think about criminal charges against him; it was about getting the word out about him and RSD. It hasn’t hindered the campaign so far; we have had a lot of momentum around the world.
“I actually was not familiar with the PUA community before this; so my first real interaction with them was through Julien Blanc and looking up RSD. The sustained interest and campaign against Blanc is because of the real dangers around what they’re doing; it’s not just some guy spouting out garbage. He is acting out on his messed up views on women, and teaching men who are paying thousands of dollars to do the same. A RSD bootcamp session comprises of one of the instructors talking you through techniques and lessons, and then you go “infield” to practice these things on women. They teach men how to emotionally manipulate women, have unhealthy relationships, and basically assault and violate them.
“RSD is also an extremely toxic community. The few folks who have spoken out about Blanc in their forums are immediately called ‘beta bitches’ and either chastised by the community, which upholds RSD and its instructors no matter what. Or, moderators end up deleting their comments and censoring them for having a shred of common sense.”
That’s all well and good, but allow us to play devil’s advocate in the interest of highlighting both sides of the argument. Australia and the UK very speedily issued their visa injunctions against Blanc. The UK in particular has had a number of well-publicized issues and delays in trying to remove people the government deem unsafe or a threat to national security, particularly when it comes to preachers of militant Islam. One could readily argue that the sustained pressure from Internet campaigns has forced the authorities’ hand to appease the tempest. Are we entering an age where the loudest voices force action?
“I don’t think that that is a problem,” said Jennifer. “It’s a good thing that these offices are responding to concerns of people who do not want this type of behavior in their country. Without this pressure, many of these administrators might not have even heard of RSD or Blanc. You have to have done something seriously messed up for there to be so much mass pressure from men and women alike to really not want you there.”
And that’s about the sum of it. We are all entitled to free speech. Any one of us could walk into the streets and espouse views that a large percentage of our neighbors find abhorrent or simply unedifying. Free speech doesn’t give you the right to encourage people who may not know any better to become quasi-violent and fearsome with women simply to get your dick wet. Blanc had his turn, and the response of the people was their disgust at his free speech. Many have decided that his views do not contribute to a progressive and tolerant society and have acted accordingly and legally. THAT’S democracy in action, brothers and sisters.
The last word goes to Jennifer: does this spell the end of the much-maligned PUA community/industry?
“I’m not sure if this spells the beginning of the end for this industry. I hope it makes men who consider taking these classes reconsider their decisions. I would say that I hope this makes the industry rethink itself, but seeing as pick up artistry at its core is based on misogyny and seeing women as objects to ‘pick up’ and tools for badly needed self-esteem, I can’t say I have much hope for that industry. I think socially awkward guys should support each other in their issues and work them out in a healthy way, but the PUA community is not the way to do it.”
Look, if you really struggle to maintain relationships with the opposite sex, don’t fall into the hands of people who simply want your money to make you a horrible person. The best advice has always been the one your mom used to give you: “Be yourself!” Trust us, it really works.