REDWOOD CITY -- A self-described pickup artist who suggested rape should be legalized has canceled scores of Saturday meet-ups for readers of his websites, including events in Redwood City, San Francisco and San Leandro.
In a statement Wednesday, Daryush Valizadeh said the meet-ups for readers of Return of Kings and Roosh V were being called off because he could "no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend."
The move follows online petitions asking authorities to block events planned in Australia, Canada and Sweden.
"While I can't stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Return of Kings meet-ups," said Valizadeh, who is also known as Roosh V. "I apologize to all the supporters who are let down by my decision."
Valizadeh sparked controversy when he published an article that suggested rape should be legalized.
"I thought about this problem and am sure I have the solution: make rape legal if done on private property," Valizadeh wrote in "How to Stop Rape" last February. "I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds."
Valizadeh later said the article was satire, but that didn't stop Toronto Mayor John Tory from telling him he wasn't welcome in the city.
The IHOP parking lot in Redwood City, the Balboa Park BART station in San Francisco and the public fountain at East 14th Street and Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro were among the locations for more than 165 reader meet-ups in 40-plus countries planned for Saturday.
A frequently asked questions post about "International Meetup Day" on Roosh V said only adult, heterosexual men were allowed to attend. The same post also said footage of "crazy feminists" who attend should be sent to Valizadeh afterward "so we can tear them up."
Return of Kings is "meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine," according to its "about" section. Articles on the website include "Women should not be able to vote" and "The intellectual inferiority of women."
Valizadeh offers tips for picking up women on Roosh V.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, the Redwood City Police Department said it was aware of the event in its city and planned to have officers on hand.
"We are also aware that the group's website contains material about women, sexuality and other matters that many people find offensive and hateful," police said. "Like all citizens, the group members have First Amendment rights to express their opinions and to peacefully assemble, as long as they don't break any laws."
Contact Jason Green at 408-920-5006. Follow him at Twitter.com/jgreendailynews.