Julien Blanc (born October 24, 1988) is a Swiss-born, U.S.-based dating coach and pickup artist. He is an executive coach for the Los Angeles-based company Real Social Dynamics. According to an article published by Time, he describes himself as an “international leader in dating advice”. In November 2014, Blanc became the subject of multiple social media campaigns alleging that his dating advice encourages sexual violence and abuse, and involving multiple petitions on those grounds to deny him entry to several nations. On November 17, Blanc made an appearance on CNN refuting these accusations, stating that evidence against him does not reflect his teaching, and that it was taken out of context. Blanc has formally been banned from entry to Australia, the United Kingdom and Singapore as a result of these campaigns.
Work with Real Social Dynamics
Julien Blanc is an instructor employed by Real Social Dynamics, a U.S.-based company which offers seminars and “boot camps” throughout the world to men seeking instruction on how to meet and seduce women. He teaches socially awkward men how to have more confidence and socialize with women. According to the men’s relationship advice website Dating Skills Review, Blanc began his employment at Real Social Dynamics in 2008. He is one of a number of instructors who teach the course “Real Social Dynamics Bootcamp”. Blanc is the creator of video course “Pimp”, consisting of over 23 videos of dating advice. “Pimp” is divided into three sections; “Female Psychology”, “Inner Game” and “Outer Game”.
A seminar led by Blanc in Miami was featured in a TV documentary, “The Hunt for Real Men,” by British documentary maker Tim Samuels broadcast on the Bio channel on June 27, 2014. Samuels wrote about his experiences at the seminar in a Daily Mail article promoting the documentary. In a later interview with BBC, Samuels described the seminar as being “in a classroom, in a hotel, with a hundred, two hundred guys who start making notes, with Julien at the front as the kind of rock star guru, people hanging on every word, and generally getting fairly practical pop psychology tips on how to approach women, what sort of conversation to make, how to project your alpha male, and a sense of self confidence.”
November 2014 media scandals and appearance
YouTube videos and social media campaign
On September 8, 2014, Blanc posted to his YouTube channel a video titled “White male fucks Asian women in Tokyo (and the beautiful methods to it).” The video, which has since been taken down, shows Blanc presenting a seminar to a roomful of men in which he claimed that to pick up women in Tokyo, “If you’re a white male, you can do what you want,” and described himself on a visit to Tokyo “romping through the streets” and “grabbing women” to shove their faces in his crotch. The video included footage of Blanc actually engaging in this activity.
Blanc’s video was noticed by an Asian-American woman, Jennifer Li, who reported Blanc’s video to the Japanese embassy and initated a hashtag campaign “#takedownjulienblanc” in early November 2014 to protest Blanc’s video. She also initiated a petition on Change.org calling upon hotels and other venues to cancel his bookings and for webhosts to stop hosting Blanc’s and Real Social Dynamics’ websites. In an article in the Independent, Li asserted that Blanc’s video and other content he had posted online taught men how to assault women and that his video taught that “Asian women are a ‘free for all’ for predatory men,” thereby encouraging men to abuse Asian women.
Li’s campaign spread rapidly and led to wider criticism of Blanc’s teachings. Besides the Tokyo video, Blanc’s critics have noted other issues which they allege prove that Blanc promotes and teaches domestic violence and emotional abuse as a form of seduction. On one occasion Blanc posted a “Power and Control Wheel” graphic associated with the Duluth model intended to illustrate ways in which women in abusive relationships are controlled and abused by their male partners. Blanc’s posting of the graphic was accompanied by the description and hashtag “May as well be a checklist…. #HowToMakeHerStay”. In a November 17, 2014 interview on CNN, Blanc denied that he used the graphic in his seminars or for dating advice, instead saying “this is so far in the opposite direction of what I teach, that I stupidly thought, you know mocking it would be funny.” Critics charged that photos posted under his “#ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld”hashtag showing him approaching women and clasping their throats promoted violence and physical abuse as forms of seduction. Blanc stated in his CNN interview that he was not actually applying force to the woman’s neck, and that his intent was merely to provoke shock, and was a “horrible attempt at humor.”
Critics of Blanc have claimed that Blanc “promotes rape” and teaches men how to engage in sex with women by violating their consent and using psychological abuse and sexual violence, that he promotes the view that he and his followers are “intellectual superiors” to whom it is the role of women is to subordinate themselves, and that his teachings encourage potential abusers to believe that abusive behavior towards women will not be taken seriously.
Site changes and event cancellations
By November 6, 2014, Li’s social media campaign had led to Blanc’s and Real Social Dynamics events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Austin, and Seattle being shut down and in online ticketing serviceEventbrite removing all Real Social Dynamics events from its site. Blanc’s Instagram account was also closed, many of his YouTube videos were set to private, and some of the content from his Twitter account was removed. Scheduled “boot camps” in Japan and also in Canada were canceled by Real Social Dynamics until further notice around November 13 out of a fear that their instructor’s safety could not be guaranteed; contact would be via Twitter and YouTube instead.
Visas revoked or denied in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Singapore
Blanc’s Australian tour, which had begun in Sydney on October 29, 2014, was cut short by cancellations prompted by petitions and protests, including a protest of a seminar led by Blanc’s assistant Max (last name unknown) on a Melbourne River Cruises boat moored on the Yarra River in Southbank, Melbourne. The boat company canceled the seminar booking mid-event, and local police were called in to restore order. Protesters also petitioned to have Blanc deported from Australia. Blanc’s Australian visa was revoked on November 6, 2014,and the following day Victoria police confirmed that he had left Australia overnight, with his assistant scheduled to follow. Australia’s Immigration minister Scott Morrison told Sky News: “This guy wasn’t putting forward political ideas, he was putting forward abuse that was derogatory to women … those are values abhorred in this country.”
An online petition to deny Blanc entry to the United Kingdom was also initiated in November. Blanc had reportedly already given a series of seminars in London during September 2014,and was scheduled for two return visits to London in late 2014 and early 2015. Alleging that permitting Blanc into the country “legitimises sexual assault and predation” and that his pick-up techniques “directly exploit vulnerable men who buy into rape culture and end up believing that this is an appropriate way to behave,” shadow home secretary (Labour) Yvette Coopercalled upon Home Secretary Theresa May to deny Blanc entry to the country. Under paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules, the Home Secretary can refuse any visa “on general grounds because of a person’s background, behaviour, character, conduct or associations.” The UK denied Blanc a visa on November 19, 2014. Following the visa denial, the BBC interviewed documentary maker Tim Samuels about his perceptions of the seminar taught by Blanc featured in Samuels’ documentary
“The Hunt for Real Men” broadcast the previous June. Samuels said he and his team had seen nothing that “crossed the line,” but that the videos and photos which later came to light had “cast a shadow” over what had seemed an essentially harmless enterprise.
An online petition campaign in Singapore resulted in a joint statement on November 26 by the Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and its Ministry of Social and Family Development that Blanc would not be allowed into Singapore, which he had been scheduled to visit during a tour in late 2014.
Online petitions seeking to cancel seminars conducted by Blanc or other RSD coaches, or to deny entry into specific nations or cities have been launched in several other countries, includingJapan, Canada, the city of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Argentina, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. In Japan, customs officials raised the concern that Blanc had not had a proper work permit on his earlier visit to Tokyo. They stated that the crime kyōsei waisetsu, translated literally as “forcible indecency”, appeared to be committed in the video but that such charges require a victim’s testimony. In Germany, a press spokesman with the Green Party expressed doubt that Blanc could be prevented from entering the country, but believed that Blanc’s scheduled December 2014 seminar in Munich would probably take place at a secret location. Blanc will not be blocked from entering Denmark, according to Socialdemokraterne justice spokesperson Trine Bramsen, who said that to be denied entry he “must have committed a crime or have no legal business in Denmark.”
In some cases, immigration authorities have indicated an intent to deny Blanc entry into their countries apparently without having been petitioned. The Brazilian Foreign Ministry indicated thatBrazil would deny him a visa if he applied for one, in spite of planned seminars in January 2015. Though Blanc was reportedly scheduled for a visit to South Korea in December 2014, the Border Control Division of the Korea Immigration Service said that Blanc would be unlikely to gain entry to the country, with an anonymous official telling South Korean journalist Lee Tae-hoon that Blanc’s activities ran against the “morals and customs” of the country.
Explanation and apologies by Blanc and Real Social Dynamics
Real Social Dynamics co-founder Owen Cook (using the online nickname Tyler Durden) wrote on the RSD website, “I think Julien’s video was absolutely stupid,” saying that the video was out of context and that Blanc had posted it for shock value, not realizing the full outcome the situation would lead to.
In an interview by Chris Cuomo of CNN on November 17, 2014, Blanc made a public apology and repudiated the accusations against him. He said that it was “never his intention” to offend anyone and described the Tokyo video and other videos criticized by protesters as a “horrible, horrible attempt at humor.” He denied accusations of promoting rape or of coaching clients to use domestic violence or abuse to seduce women. The posts criticized by protesters, he said, were “stupid attempt[s] at humor” that had been taken out of context, and were not used as instructional materials in his courses. He said that he was “overwhelmed by the way people are responding,” that he was “reevaluating everything I put out” on the Internet, but that he hoped to continue to teach seminars. Responding to Blanc’s interview, online campaigner Jennifer Li told BuzzFeed that “He is sorry he got caught, not for what he has done.”
Critique of campaigns
The controversy surrounding Blanc has given rise to criticism and debates on various aspects of the social media campaign against him. Several commentators have charged that petitions calling for Blanc to be refused entry to various countries amounts to censorship and violation of free speech, or that the serious measure of denying Blanc a visa, rather than investigating his alleged crimes, is ineffective and out of proportion to the issues for which he has been criticized. Observers have also argued that the social media campaigns have been repressive and counterproductive in relation to more important feminist goals for achievement of women’s equality, such as changing laws and funding women’s services, or that they amount to futile attacks on the culture of young adult men such as (in the United Kingdom), laddism, or are evidence of outright prudism.
Support for Blanc
Critics of the social media campaigns against Blanc have initiated a counterpetition in his support urging nations not to deny his freedom of speech and asserting that “Denying him a visa would be an incredible injustice to a man who has committed no crimes”. One of Blanc’s personal assistants spoke on Newsbeat (a BBC Radio 1 programme) on November 20, stating that Blanc’s content had been misinterpreted by the media, supporting Blanc’s earlier claims that his coaching content had been taken out of context.
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