"Dating coach" Julien Blanc will very likely be prevented from entering the UK by the Home Office, according to Sky News sources.
Blanc had been due to tour the UK to give several of his notorious dating seminars, which critics claim are misogynistic. Blanc's company Real Social Dynamics describes itself as "the world's largest dating coaching company".
The controversy of Blanc's tour took off when a petition began circulating demanding he be barred from visiting the UK. Over 150,000 people have now signed the petition, which reads:
To allow this man into the UK legitimises sexual assault and predation and sends a message that women are playthings or objects without agency.
Blanc has been castigated by leading UK politicians including shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone. The Home Secretary has the power to deny individuals entry into the country if their presence is "not conducive to the public good".
The UK would not be the only country to refuse entry to Blanc. Australia has also denied a visa to Blanc over fears his seminars could promote violence towards women.
Blanc would've been charging £1,000 per session to men seeking his advice on how to seduce women. In one of his most infamous sessions, Blanc recounted a time when he visited Tokyo, saying:
In Tokyo, if you're a white male, you can do what you want.
I'm just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls' heads.
Blanc recently apologised on CNN for any offense that was caused by his dating seminars. Speaking to Chris Cuomo, he said:
I 100 per cent take responsibility. I apologise 100 per cent for it. I'm extremely sorry.
I feel horrible, I'm not going to be happy if I feel like I'm the most hated man in the world. I’m overwhelmed by the way people are responding.
While the decision to deny a visa to a 25-year old pick up artist may please those who signed the petition others are concerned about the precedent the decision may set in terms of free speech.
Kate Andrews, communications manager at the Adam Smith Institute, wrote:
Surely, we must recognise that there is a fundamental difference between the private sphere taking away one man’s platform to be noticed, and the state taking away every person’s platform to speak freely without threat of punishment or criminalisation.
Some worry that barring Blanc from the UK will actually increase his appeal and turn him into a matyr.