Online retail giant Amazon this week took the unusual step of removing nine books written by Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, a virulent misogynist and popular “manosphere” writer who has said that “no means no — until it means yes.”
Roosh’s latest self-published book, “Game,” was posted on Amazon Friday. HuffPost, which first reported the story, then reached out to ask Amazon whether Roosh’s content violated company guidelines for self-published material. By Monday, “Game” had been removed, along several other imaginatively titled classics, including “Bang Estonia,” “Bang Lithuania,” “Bang Ukraine,” and “30 Bangs.”
It’s unclear why Amazon decided specifically to remove Roosh’s books, given it still allows other extremist pieces of literature to be sold on the site. You can still buy the Turner Diaries, a piece of white nationalist propaganda, or David Duke’s “My Awakening” on the website. A large number of Roosh’s other Great Works also remain up for sale.
Nevertheless, the decision to ban several of Roosh’s books represents a blow to the self-described “pick up artist,” whose writing often actively promotes rape and an especially violent brand of misogyny.
In one book, Bang Iceland, Roosh describes an instance that he himself admits meets the legal definition of rape.
“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,” Roosh writes. “I can’t say I even cared or even hesitated.”
In a separate 2017 blog post for the misogynistic Return of Kings site, which he founded, Roosh wrote, “The demographic crisis the West faces today is primarily due to allowing women to do as they please instead of imposing healthy standards on their behavior and choices. The direct cause of this horror movie is giving women the vote.”
As the Anti-Defamation League has previously noted, there is a significant crossover between the misogynistic “pickup artist” culture which Roosh advocates and the wider white nationalism of the far-right. Online communities that prey on young mens’ sexual insecurity, like Return of Kings or the Red Pill sub-reddit, foster a sense of entitlement that then can easily transform into much more hardline far-right viewpoints.
For example Chris Cantwell, the “Crying Nazi” from Charlottesville, started off as a Men’s Rights Activist. Mike Cernovich, who was a prominent figure on the far-right during the 2016 election, also started out as a Men’s Rights Activist. On Monday, the latter leapt to Roosh’s defense, as did Infowars.
The removal of Roosh’s books also exposes the incredibly tangled web tech companies have created, which prevents those who propagate hate from being effectively deplatformed.
As Huffington Post pointed out, Roosh is still making money from his available books and advertising revenue from his blog, and can promote them via his verified Twitter platform and his YouTube channel — which has now given Roosh one “strike.” There are also numerous lingering questions about the types of pressure to which these tech companies respond, given it was only after HuffPost reached out to Amazon that the company decided to act.