- Bartek Kucharczyk, CC by 4.0
- Daryush Valizadeh in Warsaw, Poland, in 2014.
So-called "neo-masculinist"/anti-feminist blogger Daryush "Roosh V" Valizadeh has canceled meetings scheduled to take place Saturday, Feb. 6 in 43 countries. The activist, who has been described as "pro-rape" by critics, wrote in a post on his website Feb. 3 that he could "no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend."
One of the meetings was planned for Boise, with supporters asked to arrive between 8 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. at the statute of Abraham Lincoln outside the Capitol building.
Valizadeh, a 36-year-old Washington, D.C. resident made famous as a writer and "pickup artist," had set up a system to ensure privacy for men seeking to attend the meetups. According to Valizadeh's website—Return of Kings—a man would ask the question, “Do you know where I can find a pet store?” to which the host’s response would be “Yes, it’s right here.” Only then would details for the final location be given.
On his website, Valizadeh stated the gatherings would be “the biggest ‘meetups’ the world has seen.”
A counter-demonstration had been scheduled in Boise, under the name Down With The "Kings," at the Statehouse from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported a petition asking that Return of Kings be banned from the United Kingdom received nearly 80,000 signatures and at least one high-profile British politician has demanded the group be targeted under the country's hate crime laws.