A "disgusting" group led by a U.S. blogger, who has written that rape inside a private home should be legal, is looking for a new meeting place after Mayor Jim Watson spoke out against a planned rendezvous at a municipal building.
"It's absolutely disgusting. He probably thrives off this kind of publicity, which is sad," Watson said Tuesday at City Hall.
"This kind of language and behaviour has no place in a civil society and certainly not welcome here in Ottawa."
"Return of Kings" promotes itself as a blog for "masculine men" and complains about the rise of feminism and the "elimination of traditional sex roles."
The man behind the blog, Daryush Valizadeh, goes by the online moniker Roosh V. He has written pickup tip guides for men and penned a blog post calling for rape to be legal inside private homes. It's unabashedly homophobic and discriminatory.
Roosh V is organizing meetings of "tribesmen" in 43 countries for Saturday and organizers had listed Ottawa's Arts Court as the site of the first meeting location before supporters move to another location. The group plans meetups in seven other Canadian cities.
Watson launched a Twitter campaign earlier Tuesday, primarily to fellow mayors, expressing his disdain for the "pro-rape, misogynistic, homophobic garbage" on Return of Kings.
"Our policies are we don't allow people who promote hate to use our facilities, so that's the direction I gave to staff, to live up to that policy," Watson told reporters.
Shortly after Watson and others came forward to oppose the meeting, Roosh posted an appeal to his blog entitled "Operation Save the Foreign Meetups."
"Alright we're going to save our most threatened meetups first, which happen to be outside of the USA," reads the post. "If you are from any of the below cities, I need your help come up with (1) an alternate public meeting location and (2) a throwaway email address you own that I can post publicly. We will relay the meting location privately through a system I will announce soon."
Watson said he has asked Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury to alert businesses in the Rideau Street area to make sure they "don't fall into some trap" and rent space to the group.
Other mayors, including Toronto's John Tory and Montreal's Denis Coderre, have also lashed out against Valizadeh.
The Ottawa Citizen