Why I Stood Up To A Sexual Predator “Pick-Up Artist” and How We Took Him Down

Editor’s Note:* On November 1st (Saturday) at 1 am, Jennifer Li saw a video on-line of the so-called “dating expert” Julien Blanc that left her so horrified, that she had to take action. Working with a group of activists and journalists who later became friends and with on-line allies, within less than a week Jennifer had gotten Julien Blanc kicked out of Australia and brought world attention to a misogynous business community of so-called “pick-up artists” selling hatred and exploitation of women as dating techniques. 
In her own, sometimes slightly vulgar words, this self-proclaimed, “angry asian girl” tells why and how she took action—and why she now is going to step back a little and let others continue the good work.  
Please note: to readers, media and other bloggers, you are welcome to repost this anywhere, in good faith, if you like, but please link to the original post on Japan Subculture Research Center, especially if you are using just part of the essay. Thank you. 
Jennifer Li standing up for the rights of women and taking a stand against sexual predators--in action, in words, and often very acerbic funny words.
Jennifer Li standing up for the rights of women and taking a stand against sexual predators–in action, in words, and often very acerbic funny words.

 

                One who is present at a wrongdoing and does not lift a hand to prevent it, is as guilty as the wrongdoers

—a native American proverb

 

I started the campaign at around 1am on Saturday, after I saw the video on Tumblr. I was scrolling through  and saw the first video I’ve ever come across on Julien Blanc. It was the Japanese one.

This was the post.

Watching it, each second was more horrifying than the next. I’ve had no experience taking anyone down, so I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had so much anger in me that I needed to channel it somewhere. I started the #takedownjulienblanc hashtag and @Jennli123 twitter account without knowing if it would ever pick up.

When I watched this video–

Julien Blanc, "dating expert", brag how easy it is to force Japanese women to put their mouths on your dick.  街で女の頭つかんで顔にチンコを当てまくった。
Julien Blanc, “dating expert”, brag how easy it is to force Japanese women to put their mouths on a man’s dick. 街で女の頭つかんで顔にチンコを当てまくった。

there were a million things going through my mind; how he was abusing his white privilege, how he was abusing his male privilege, how he is dehumanizing Japanese women, how he is committing sexual assault, how he is teaching this to other men, and how this will affect all women, everywhere. And when I looked at the company employing him, Real Social Dynamics (RSD) and their hub Real Social Dynamics Nation, and I did not like what I found.

I was outraged, with him especially. How dare he violate these Japanese women’s’ spaces! How dare he pass on his disgusting views and methods onto other men! This guy was in essence, assaulting women and getting away with it. And not just getting away with it— he was REWARDED for it. I could not believe that he could go about doing this without consequences.

He is perpetuating the idea that Asian women basically mean a “free for all” for predators. He emboldens men to approach Asian women and harass them. Men like him create problems for women like me because I am an Asian woman, and I don’t need men getting horrible ideas from watching videos like this to sexually harass me and invade my personal space. I am Chinese, but the type of people who will perpetuate this type of behavior won’t care what type of Asian I am. There are repercussions to Asian women everywhere; this guy is saying that it’s ok to have yellow fever, and to enact out sick power fantasies on Asian women. But not just Asian women—all women. He’s an equal opportunity predator.

When I first started researching him, I found little toxic gems on his website, PimpingMyGame.com, that were ludicrous. : “DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY WITH THIS ROCK-SOLID STRUCTURE TO SELF-GENERATE THE POWERFUL EMOTIONS GIRLS CRAVE.” Who the hell talks like that?

PIMPING it dude.
PIMPING it dude.  DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY. Yep.

But a part of me wasn’t laughing. This is an organized group of men who band together and teach other men how to assault women. There will be no accountability through RSD. Julien has too many fanboys in his community.

When I first started this, I had almost no strategy; I just threw things and hoped they stuck. I knew he was going to Tokyo. I called the Japanese Embassy, reported him, wrote to the press, did the hashtag thing, started a change.org petition.

I’m not a  journalist but I did my best to investigate him. I looked through this Twitter feed @RSDJulien, retweeted some of his tweets to expose him, including the Domestic Violence wheel and choking one. (His Twitter account has since been removed).

I caught the eye of Anonymous and Jake Adelstein around that time (November 2nd). I was already organizing with a bunch of folks, including some people in Australia, and I decided to drop that video into the Global Asians group that my (Japanese-American) friend Mandy is part of too. The ladies there started organizing right away; writing press releases on their own. They also lurked in the forums and started saving a lot of RSD stuff—before they could take it down.

Thanks to someone in Australia, we found out that he was hosting his seminar in the Como Melbourne, which is how I started the first petition. It worked.

The Como Melbourne was the first hotel to cancel a Julien Blanc/RSD seminar after Jennifer Li and friends started their #takedownjulienblanc campaign.
The Como Melbourne was the first hotel to cancel a Julien Blanc/RSD seminar after Jennifer Li and friends started their #takedownjulienblanc campaign.

Anonymous helped find his Eventbrite page, so I tacked on the Hilton Garden Inn and the Courtyard Seattle onto there. The Hilton Garden Inn Austin cancelled pretty quickly. The Courtyard Marriott did not have a large social media presence, so I had to personally call them five times before they got the idea and cancelled his event. Eventbrite pulled after that, and so did AWeber. After Eventbrite pulled, though, it was very hard to find the next venue location. The Mercure Brisbane victory was all Aussies; I didn’t even know he was being hosted there.

I disseminated the information, and the same applied to the St. Kilda location. The protest was organized by Aussies. I forwarded people to that Facebook page, but they did all of the work.

While I didn’t have a set strategy when I first started, I gained my footing once the movement started growing organically. I would target private venues that were hosting him, and try to cut off the hosting for their online propaganda.

I got people  in touch with one another; I realized that people were passionate about this and were prepared to do what they had to do to take RSD down, and my job was to de-duplicate their work and get folks who were dong similar things in touch with each other. I publicized relevant information that I had without jeopardizing whoever was organizing so people could build on the momentum. I made sure to only promote information that I thought was accurate; I did not want to discredit all our hard work by sending people to fake RSD accounts or waste their time on wild good chases.

There were people who had known about Julien Blanc before, and already had messages he had sent them and I promoted their stuff without disclosing their identities. By Saturday Nov. 8, I was pretty burned out and had no sleep (thanks to the Australia/ Washington DC/Japan time difference) and Julien Blanc was deported. Japan is already organizing on its own ban, as is Canada, London, the UK, and Brazil. This has become bigger than me; it’s become a global movement.

There’s always the argument that you shouldn’t feed the trolls—that by giving them attention you make the problem worse. That’s bullshit. You can’t solve problems by ignoring them.

The only way to take someone like him down is public shame. It’s to show that anyone associated with such a person and their organization like this is tarnishing their own name. I know this is giving him more publicity. Hopefully it’s the type of publicity that will shut down sadistic, hurtful and deceptive sociopaths like Julien Blanc and poisonous organizations like RSD down. This Asian girl is tired of this type of crap.

I’m not tired of it because I’m “Asian” either. I’m tired of it because I’m a woman. I can’t stand by and watch women being hurt by men like this.

RSD and Julien are on the defense; many of the videos I have watched are now taken down and made private, and RSD has had to shift servers to Liquid Web, who we are also petitioning. Something has obviously stuck. We have been able to shut down RSD’s events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Austin, and Seattle, and gotten Eventbrite to stop hosting their events, and had AWeber and Rackspace to stop hosting their content.

There isn’t any fight, even for a just cause, without some collateral damage. There are fans of Julien who have dug into my personal life, pulled up my writings, my on-line profile, and taken things I’ve said out of context. I’ve been accused of being a racist and hating white people, especially men.  They try to troll me.

I understand how that works. When people don’t like the message, they attack the messenger.

This shouldn’t be about me—it should be about whether it’s okay for men to deceive, harass, hurt and/or physically assault women for their amusement.

It’s not.

I don’t hate anyone because of their gender or race. I do strongly dislike men who hurt women for their own amusement and spread that message of schadenfreude to other men. And I do strongly dislike white people who think it’s ok to treat someone of a different race in a derogatory manner because they think they will get away with it. It’s a toxic cycle and I hope that I’ve helped raise awareness of it.

I don’t think the entire PUA (Pick Up Artist) community are bad guys. I think it’s sad that they seem to only be interested for women as targets for their sexual conquest and not in achieving any kind of real, caring and lasting relationship.

This isn’t my life work, but I wanted to stand up for what was right and for the rights of women to be free from harassment and violence.

I will still be active in the social justice movement  but I may no longer be leading the fight against Julien Blanc, RSD, and their ilk. It’s time for me to step back a bit; I’ve already done my part. People have gotten my message on RSD and Julien Blanc. The people of Brazil, the UK, Japan, and Canada know best how to handle the RSD situation in their countries. This movement has very capable people. I will continue cheering the people who continue what I’ve started.  I’m not planning to lead the movement globally anymore.  I’m tempted to leave everything in the hands of the community but people are saying I should petition Nevada Secretary of State about the RSD business license and I do live in the United States. Duty calls. I want to say thank you to everyone who took up the cause, everyone who supported me so far.

We made a difference. We are making a difference.