Update 9/2/2021: Organizers have officially canceled the far-Right conference.
Update: On the site for his District 14 labor commissioner run, Georgia State Senator Bruce Thompson confirmed he is speaking at the “Christian Veterans United” conference.
Warning: This article contains descriptions of rape.
Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, a notorious far-Right antisemite, misogynist, and rape apologist, is a featured speaker at the upcoming “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference” organized by Christian Veterans United. The conference is scheduled to take place on September 10th and 11th, in or near metro Atlanta. Two venues, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead and the First Baptist Church in Woodstock, have so far canceled use of their spaces after learning of the event’s true nature. Organizers are vowing to go ahead with the event but have not publicly announced their new venue.
As well as Valizadeh, the Christian Veterans United website lists Jesse Lee Peterson, a rightwing commentator who bemoans women’s suffrage, and Bruce Thompson, Georgia State Senator representing District 14, as event speakers. By appearing alongside Valizadeh, perhaps the world’s most notorious women-hating propagandist, State Senator Thompson would normalize Jew-hatred and violence against women.
At the time of publication, Thompson has not responded to a request to confirm his appearance at the Conference, though his name and image feature on the event’s website. We will update this article if Thompson issues a clarification.
Now an Orthodox Christian, Roosh Valizadeh formerly made a living by publishing a series of “pick-up artist” books called the “Bang” books. These books purported to teach men how to attract or trick women into sexual encounters in different countries around the world. Many of the books contain descriptions and instructions for date rape.
Here is an example from Valizadeh’s Iceland book, in Valizadeh’s own words:
“While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she couldn’t legally give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated.”
Here is another example from his Poland book:
“We moved to my bed. I got her down to her bra and panties, but she kept saying, ‘No, no.’ I was so turned on by her beauty and petite figure that I told myself she’s not walking out my door without getting ****ed. At that moment I accepted the idea of getting locked up in a Polish prison to make it happen.”
As well as his books, Valizadeh ran “Return of Kings” (RoK), an influential male supremacist website, from 2012 until 2018. In one piece published to his personal site at the same time he operated RoK, Valizadeh proposed that rape be legalized on private property. He later insisted that the piece was “a satirical thought experiment.” Even on the most generous reading, the article largely blames rape on “American women who have been babied for too long” and suggests that women regularly cry rape. Through shifting blame to rape victims, the “thought experiment” rationalizes male violence.
In 2019, Valizadeh stated that he had taken the “God pill” and rejoined the Armenian Church. Earlier this year, he switched to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. After his embrace of Christianity, Valizadeh removed his “Bang” books from print. He now claims that his earlier life was sinful. However, what Valizadeh criticizes about that life was pursuit of extramarital sex, which he now views as keeping him from God. Valizadeh’s fundamental picture of women has not changed. Indeed, Valizadeh keeps a collection of essays on women from Return of Kings in print, believing that the essays still contain insight.
Valizadeh has long been on the far-Right. In 2015, he attended a conference of Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. (Valizadeh is controversial among white nationalists because of his Armenian ancestry and his boasts of sleeping with white women.) Valizadeh’s conversion has done little to temper his politics and, if anything, he has become more extreme.
Valizadeh has been making common cause with Nazis by claiming that Jewish people are secretly plotting to destroy white Western civilization. On July 6th, he posted on his official Telegram channel, “The Jews control social media, and they control the ‘conservative’ movement. If you cross the Jews, they will shut you down.” Among other outlandish claims, he has also recently argued that Jewish people have created Bratz dolls to groom children for pedophilia. An April post on his personal site, “24 Secular Articles I Recommend,” lists an article asserting that pornography is “Jewish […] Cultural Terrorism” which aims to undermine “white European civilization”. The recommended article first appeared on a white nationalist website, Counter-Currents.
The September conference’s main organizer is Michael Robillard, a veteran and Philosophy PhD who quit academia after deciding that it had been overwhelmed by “pernicious woke ideology”. In a recent article for Quillette, Robillard argues that accepting trans pronoun preferences will put America on “a fast road to communist dystopia”. Robillard will also speak at the conference.
Another “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference” speaker is Jesse Lee Peterson, a Black rightwing commentator who has argued that women’s suffrage a mistake and that “Breonna Taylor got what she deserved.”
Until recently, Joshua Robert Reid of the “Redpill Project” (formerly “Q Patriot”) was also listed to speak at the Conference. Reid interviews and promotes antisemites such as David Icke and “Max Igan” in his broadcasts. Reid is also an explicit Holocaust-denier. Reid’s speaker listing was removed from the conference website at the same time Valizadeh’s was briefly taken down, when conference organizers discussed having Valizadeh as an unadvertised speaker at a different venue. Currently, it is unclear whether Reid is no longer a speaker or whether he simply did not get re-added to the website due to an error by organizers. By inviting Valizadeh and Reid in the first place, conference organizers have made their embrace of antisemitism clear.
Conclusion and Call to Action
By allowing his name to be used by the misogynist and antisemitic “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference,” State Senator Bruce Thompson helps normalize Jew-hatred and male supremacist ideology. If he speaks at the event, Thompson will signal that he stands side by side with antisemites and male supremacists, giving a sheen of respectability to their efforts.
The politics promoted by the “Faith and Freedom Men’s Conference” have clear consequences. In 2018, a militant antisemite murdered eleven worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania. (Roosh Valizadeh then belittled the massacre’s significance in a mocking Tweet.) A similar 2019 synagogue attack in California led to one death. The male supremacist “manosphere” has also been linked to murders, most recently five killed in Plymouth, UK by an “incel” gunman. The Atlanta Spa Murders in March of this year were carried out by a man inspired by religion-linked racialized misogyny. While Roosh Valizadeh built his following as a pick-up artist rather than as an “incel” ideologue, both subcultures are linked by a similar view of women. This view is also shared by Valizadeh in his current “traditionalist” stance.
In response to the upcoming gathering, we ask readers to help in two ways:
- First, please spread this documentation widely, especially to churches or venues that may be approached to host the far-Right conference. Knowingly hosting the Jew- and women-hating event would severely damage any venue’s work and community ties.
- Reach out to Georgia State Senator Thompson. Urge Thompson to clarify his stance on the upcoming conference and to disavow it, along with antisemitism and the male supremacist movement.
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If you have further information on this event or other far-Right organizing in Georgia, please get in touch.