'Pick-up artist' Blanc banned from UK
The British government on Wednesday banned controversial US-based "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc from entering the country after nearly 160,000 people signed a petition accusing him of encouraging "physical and emotional abuse".
Junior Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said that granting Blanc a visa "could have led to an increase in sexual violence and harassment".
"I am delighted that Mr Blanc won't be coming to our shores," she added.
The Swiss-American dating coach claims to teach men how to attract women, but his methods have been widely slammed as abusive.
British ministers had been urged to deny the visa on the grounds that Blanc was "not conducive to the public good", with 158,000 signing the protest on website change.org.
"Julien Blanc and his group... are a group of sexist and racist 'pick up artists,' who have made a living by teaching men how to violate women through physical and emotional abuse," said the petition.
"Do not associate the UK with a man who chokes women around the world as part of his pick-up game.
"It's not only women who are affected; Blanc's misogynistic 'pick up techniques' directly exploit vulnerable men who buy into rape culture and end up believing that this is an appropriate way to behave."
Blanc, an "executive coach" for the company Real Social Dynamics, was due in Britain on Friday as part of a world tour.
He was forced to cut short a visit to Australia earlier this year when his visa was cancelled following widespread protests and there are similar calls for him to be banned from Canada.
In an interview earlier this week with CNN, Blanc said: "I want to apologise to anybody I've offended in any way."
He said photos of him choking women and his apparent endorsement of violence as a means of control "were taken out of context" and were a "horrible attempt at humour".
"I teach guys how to gain confidence, most of them socially awkward, in order to socialise with women and perhaps to get into a relationship with women," Blanc insisted.
© 2014 AFP