A controversial US 'pick up artist' who holds seminars that claim to teach men how to sleep with women has had his Australian tour cut short by the government.
Julien Blanc had his visa cancelled on Thursday night (6 November) amid protests against his talks, which critics say promote dangerous and abusive behaviour towards women.
"We can confirm Julien Blanc left Australia overnight", Victorian police said on Twitter. "His assistant is also due to leave shortly." The pair had planned to stay in the country until December.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said Blanc's visa was cancelled on Thursday night following an investigation into his seminars and methods.
Australians were outraged upon discovering Blanc, who styles himself as a "dating advice coach", was holding seminars on how to teach men to "pick up" women using physical force and emotional abuse.
In a comment piece in The Independent on Thursday, the head of the #TakeDownJulienBlanc campaign Jennifer Li voiced concerns that the man "travels around the world teaching men how to manipulate, and in some cases, sexually assault women."
Li wrote that Blanc's videos demonstrate a "horrifying" treatment of women, including videos in which he "seduces" Japanese women by grabbing their heads and forcing them on to his crotch.
Blanc has also posted videos to YouTube in which he goes up to women and clasps their throats while putting his fingers on his lips and saying "shhh". He has tagged the videos "#ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld".
Li's campaign targets venues which host Blanc's events, and has previously been able to shut down events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Austin and Seattle. Eventbrite has also stopped hosting his talks off the back of the campaign.
On Thursday night, Blanc's assistant attempted to hold a seminar on a boat on Melbourne's Yarra River, which a handful of men paid to attend.
Protesters rallied along the river bank and also trailed the pair by boat. Melbourne River Cruises cancelled the event as soon as it was told what was happening, and the men were escorted off the vessel by police.
Since The Independent article, Blanc's Twitter feed and YouTube channels have gone viral, with critics highlighting the danger they pose to women. The #TakeDownJulienBlanc Twitter campaign led by online activist Li helped spread word of his talks, and an anti-Blanc Facebook page also emerged. An online petition urged Australia immigration head Morrison to deport him.
Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay, who has consistently worked to end violence against women in the state – which has witnessed the deaths of 29 women and eight children at the hands of violent men in the past year – released a statement condemning Blanc's work on Friday.
"To me most of it appears to be deeply disturbing and offensive", Lay wrote. "Labelling women as objects and actively promoting the abuse of women degrades the dignity of our whole community.
"We want to assure everyone that we have been playing close attention to this issue and appreciate that many community members have expressed concern."
Neither Blanc nor his company have responded to requests for comment. According to his tour schedule, he is due to appear next in Japan.