The Right To Free Speech and Shutting Down Pro-Rape Group “Return of Kings” Meet Ups

If you’ve been loosely keeping up with Australian news over the last few days then you’ll almost certainly have heard about the misogynistic pro-rape group Return of Kings. Their leader Daryush “Roosh V” Valizadeh has made his intentions very clear and recently announced he would be conducting a series of “meet ups” for followers of the group. Obviously this hasn’t been without great public backlash. Since then, he has decided to cancel the meet ups because of safety concerns for those attending. A bit ironic, but also a bit off topic. 

Today, op-ed Daily Telegraph columnist James Crafti wrote a piece titled, “Pro-Rape Group Should Be Free To Speak.” His article insults the group, labelling them as “douchebag men.” He then goes on to point out: 

Cancelling the visas of particularly outrageous individuals is a cheap and easy way for governments to be seen to be doing something. 

False. It is taking action, and that’s what needs to be done. It shows that Australia as a nation does not stand behind this man.

The right to say things people disagree with was hard won. […] Progressives fought long and hard for the right to free speech and it would be an absolute betrayal if progressives were the ones arguing it should be taken away.

Sure they did, but this isn’t as matter as simplistic as free speech. It’s about much more. 

The author of this The Daily Telegraph column proposes the group be “confronted.” That’s a little difficult when people have such fear for this group of barbaric men. 

What if this group were a bunch of terrorism-advocates, expressing ill-intent towards the nation of Australia. Would the meeting still be allowed to go ahead? The government and police force would be significantly more concerned, and they certainly wouldn’t be letting them go ahead, let alone allow the man responsible into the country. Now why make the comparison? Well in both instances, both groups have expressed support for disagreeing with the law and openly harming others in society. Need I tell you this is wrong? Stop the meeting at the most basic level you can: don’t grant this man a Visa. If you shut down the leader, you silence the group. By doing so, no one’s discouraging free speech, they’re simply saying, “What you stand for doesn’t fall in line with Australian values, so you’re not allowed into this country.” It’s as simple as that. Stopping a meet up of pro-rape advocates isn’t wrong, it’s beneficial. By allowing the meeting to go ahead, albeit in high police presence, no action is taken.

Australia, as a nation, needs to show that we aren’t okay with what these men preach. We need to let it be known they are abnormally sick individuals and it is important to show we as a nation will not stand for these actions in our society. 

It is brilliant news that the meet ups will no longer go ahead, even though they were cancelled by the leader of Return of Kings and not by Australian authorities. This post is in response to James Crafti’s article in The Daily Telegraph, regarding the free speech issues faced in this situation.