'Pick-up artist' Blanc banned from Singapore

SINGAPORE – Singapore on Wednesday, November 26, banned US-based "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc from entering the country to conduct seminars after over 8,000 people signed a petition accusing him of legitimizing "sexual assault and predation". 

The move by the Southeast Asian city-state follows a similar ban by Britain last week. 

Officials in other Asian countries where the 26-year-old Swiss-American had planned to travel on a world tour have also indicated that he may not be granted a visa. 

Singapore authorities will bar Blanc from entering the country "especially if he is here to hold seminars or events that propagate violence against women," a government statement said Wednesday. 

"Blanc has been involved in seminars in various countries that advised men to use highly abusive techniques when dating women," said the statement. 

"Violence against women or any persons is against Singapore law."

A petition against Blanc started by Singaporean Charis Mah on the change.org website had called on interior minister Teo Chee Hean to "exclude this individual from Singapore or deport him if he has already entered." 

"To allow this man or the group that he works for into Singapore legitimizes sexual assault and predation, and sends a message that women are playthings or objects without agency," said the petition, which has been signed by over 8,400 people. 

Blanc is a dating coach for the company Real Social Dynamics. He claims to teach men how to attract women, but his methods have been widely viewed as abusive.

YouTube videos of his workshops show him encouraging men to use physical aggression, including choking women, as well as emotional abuse to convince them to have sex. 

Real Social Dynamics said on its website Blanc attended "a prestigious university in Switzerland" before moving to Los Angeles.

Blanc was forced to cut short a visit to Australia earlier this year when his visa was cancelled following widespread protests and there are similar calls for him to be banned from Canada.

Britain's interior ministry on November 20 moved to bar him entry into the country after a petition there accusing him of encouraging abuse garnered over 160,000 signatures. 

Elsewhere, officials in Japan and South Korea have said Blanc is unlikely to be granted a visa if he wanted to enter the two countries for planned visits. 

According to a world tour schedule circulating online, Blanc was supposed to visit Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul from late November to early December. – Rappler.com