Monday, November 10, 2014

No free speech in Australia?

When Immigration Minister Scott Morrison unexpectedly cancelled United States pick-up artist Julien Blanc's visa on Thursday it capped off a week that started with an online campaign and ended in a real-world protest.

Blanc was in Australia to host a series of seminars on how to attract women. His repertoire includes choking women, grabbing their heads and pushing them toward his groin and advising his followers how to destroy a woman's "bitch shield".

Critics were quick to condemn what they said was Blanc's promotion of abuse towards women. Social media lit up with the hashtag #takedownjulienblanc, which trended for the rest of the week. Thousands of people tweeted and posted comments on Facebook against Blanc; almost 35,000 signed an online petition.

"Julien Blanc is sexually assaulting women and then teaching rooms full of men to do the same. He should be arrested,"one Twitter user wrote.

The hashtag phenomena, spilled over into the real world, culminating in a protest on the banks of the Yarra River on Thursday night. The river cruise boat that was hosting him cancelled the event before it started and asked police to remove men who had come to hear Blanc speak after they refused to leave.

Although Blanc has left the country, in his wake he has left an argument over freedom of speech.

His advice may be deplorable, but Blanc's seminars are not illegal. Should he have been allowed take to the stage without disruption, let alone kicked out of the country?

Simon Breheny, director of the legal rights project at the Institute of Public Affairs, said it would have been better to let his seminar go ahead.

"The answer to bad speech is more speech. If someone says something I don't like, rather than calling in the police and saying this guy should be fined or sent to jail, we should explain to people why we think those ideas are bad and why we shouldn't listen to him," he said.

"Why is it that a government bureaucrat gets to decide what ideas you and I hear at forums we freely choose to attend? That's a very concerning idea."

Blanc has not commented, but one of his colleagues at dating company Real Social Dynamics has downplayed the incident, saying the controversy stems from one video being taken out of context.

"I think Julien's video was absolutely stupid," co-founder Owen Cook, who uses the name Tyler online, wrote on the company's web forums.  "It was totally out of context and he posted it to get shock, not realising the full outcome. I'm sorry about the video."



Anonymous said...

Citizens and legal residents of a country should have the right to free-speech, but others coming into the country to promote views that are objected to by many in the country as contrary to the country's interests or general values (such as Islamist extremists) should not feel entitled to be allowed in that country or to object if they are stopped from doing so.

Anonymous said...

@3:20, Exactly; Ideas that are deemed offensive by the Government should be censored by the Government for the good of the people. Those the expound on those ideas should be banned from the country or exiled by the Government. Only those that speak correctly should be free to express their ideas.

Anonymous said...

12:36 - So you support the idea of preaching violation of women in order to satisfy your lust. If the government of the day accedes to the views of the public that a person on a visa violates the ethos of the country that somehow becomes draconian totalitarianism in your opinion? Glad I don't live in your world. BTW you and Putin would get along so well.

Bird of Paradise said...

Liberals abuse women with their idiotic ideas and philosephies