Toronto Mayor John Tory says he doesn't want the "hate speech" of controversial U.S. blogger and author Roosh V in the city, and is urging organizers to cancel the controversial pickup artist's speaking event set for Saturday.
"I am calling on those hosting this tour to do the right thing — cancel this show," Tory tweeted Monday. In another tweet, Tory said "@rooshv and his hate speech have no place in our city and should have no platform here either."
While free speech is the law in this country, promoting violence against women is wrong. #topoli— John Tory (@JohnTory) August 11, 2015
Toronto Coun. and Twitter star Norm Kelly also said Roosh is unwelcome, and urged Toronto venue owners to refuse to host him, saying his "take on life is worthless garbage masquerading as provocative insight."
Urging all venue locations in Toronto to deny @rooshv the opportunity to use their space. He and his views are not welcome in Toronto.— Norm Kelly (@norm) August 10, 2015
Roosh V, whose real name is Daryush Valizadeh, has attracted outrage through his blog posts, including one advocating that rape be made legal inside a private home, and another suggesting that men seek out women with eating disorders.
Through his blog and speaking appearances, Valizadeh advises men on the best methods to convince women to have sex with them. He is the author of Bang, a book he describes as a "textbook for picking up girls."
He also runs the website Return of Kings, which describes itself as an online forum "meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine."
His appearance last weekend in Montreal drew protests and a petition of more than 40,000 signatures arguing that he should not be allowed to cross the border into Canada. His original conference venue was cancelled, he had a beer thrown in his face, and he was named and shamed while having a coffee on St-Denis.
His appearance was also condemned by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
'We come to Toronto as righteous victors'
Still, the controversy appears to have emboldened Valizadeh.
"Hardened from battle in Montreal, we come to Toronto as righteous victors," he tweeted. "We won't stand down, we won't apologize."
He also responded directly to Tory's tweets about him, saying "my speech doesn't promote violence, harassment, or hate against any group. You were lied to about me."
Mr. Mayor, my speech doesn't promote violence, harassment, or hate against any group. You were lied to about me. https://t.co/VaafBwREsa— Roosh (@rooshv) August 11, 2015
Valizadeh says all the talk and media coverage ended up giving him a big spike in online searches.
Haley Firkser, a feminist who helped organize the Montreal protests against Roosh V's appearance there, appeared on CBC Radio's Metro Morning show Tuesday.
Some argue Roosh V only gains from the protests and media coverage, but Firkser said the attention helps spur healthy debate and awareness about women's issues.
"Some people say it benefits him, but if you look at the petition, there are more than 45,000 who signed up," she said. "That's 45,000 people who are learning about this who hopefully are taking part in discourse surrounding consent."
The Montreal talk and one in Toronto on Saturday are the final dates of a six-city tour billed as a "discussion of the problems that Western men face today and how to solve them."
The location of Valizadeh's Toronto appearance has not been disclosed. There are reports it will be revealed on Friday.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Coun. Norm Kelly is the deputy mayor of Toronto. He is a former deputy mayor. Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong is the current deputy mayor.Aug 11, 2015 9:37 AM ET