WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Mayor John Tory is joining a chorus of voices demanding the cancellation of a planned weekend show by a controversial American pick-up artist who goes by the name Roosh V. Caryn Lieberman has the story.
TORONTO — Toronto Mayor John Tory is speaking out against anti-feminist blogger and controversial pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, a.k.a. Roosh V., saying that his “hate speech” has “no place in our city.”
Valizadeh responded to Mayor Tory on Twitter saying he “doesn’t promote violence, harassment, or hate against any group.”
Tory’s comments echo those of City Councillor Norm Kelly, who asked Toronto venues not to let Valizadeh use their spaces ahead of an event planned for Aug. 15.
“Urging all venue locations in Toronto to deny @rooshv the opportunity to use their space,” Kelly tweeted on Monday. “He and his views are not welcome in Toronto.”
Kelly added that “@rooshv’s ‘take’ on life is worthless garbage masquerading as provocative insight.”
Kelly told Global News on Tuesday that he previously did not know about Valizadeh, but once he learned more about him he was “appalled by how vulgar and stupid and creepy his arguments are.”
“It’s one thing to have an argument provocatively presented, as long as there’s information there that you can learn from. There’s nothing there, this is just raw, base BS coming from this guy and frankly it’s not worth our time and attention but he has been brought to our attention so we’ll comment on him,” he said.
“Every time he’s been asked, ‘Where are you going to speak?’ He refuses to answer. Now that may suggest that he doesn’t have a place or if he does he doesn’t want to reveal it because if it was revealed now, the owner … may withdraw the opportunity.”
Kelly said Valizadeh “doesn’t reflect Canadian values and certainly not the values of the city of Toronto.”
“I was getting creamed last night in the Twitterverse — accused of censoring him — and I wasn’t and others aren’t,” he said.
“What we’re doing though is setting off alarm bells. So we’re exercising free speech just saying to people, ‘Look it, this is what the guy’s like and you don’t want to be associated with him if you have rooms to rent to this guy. And if he does get a room and he does speak then it’s up to the authorities to judge for themselves whether he’s transgressed Canadian law.”
Toronto is the final stop of his world speaking tour titled “The State of Man” that “deconstructs the problems men face today” and helps them “improve their intimate relationships with women.”
Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel Brown said that although it’s not possible to prevent Valizadeh from entering the country, he could be charged with hate speech against women.
“In the last six months the law has changed where previously only certain types of identifiable groups were protected by hate speech,” he said.
“Among those groups before women weren’t protected, now the laws have changed to protect women as well as an identifiable group who can be protected by the hate speech laws.”
His scheduled stop in Toronto comes after an appearance in Montreal over the weekend where he had to find another venue for his lecture after protesters discovered the first location.
Mayor Denis Coderre and provincial Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee also spoke out against Valizadeh’s statements saying they constitute hate speech against women.
A Change.org petition had been created to keep Valizadeh from entering Canada, amassing more than 41,000 signatures.
In a video posted to YouTube on Saturday night, two women are seen throwing drinks at him as a crowd of people surrounds him. The group then follows him, screaming and cursing, until he is ushered inside a building.
Montreal police confirmed to Global News on Tuesday that they are investigating the incident at the event on Saturday, but would not confirm that it involved Valizadeh.
Ahead of the Toronto lecture Valizadeh writes: “Judging by the radical feminists that claim Toronto as their home, I made sure to schedule Toronto as my last lecture stop, just in case I don’t make it out in one piece.”
The venue for the event has not been revealed publicly, and will be listed one day before the event.
With files from Caryn Lieberman and Adam Miller