May urged to bar 'sexist' US coach
A Home Office minister has lobbied Theresa May to ban a US "pick-up artist" from entering the UK because of his "sexist and utterly abhorrent statements".
Lynne Featherstone said she had no doubts that if Julien Blanc was allowed to perform in the UK, there would be an increase in "cases of sexual harassment and intimidation".
The controversial American holds seminars across the world, claiming to teach men how to attract women, but critics have condemned his behaviour.
Liberal Democrat minister Ms Featherstone publicly raised her concerns and urged the Home Secretary to deny Mr Blanc a visa.
She highlighted posts on social media by Mr Blanc showing him with his hands around women's throats with the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld.
Crime Prevention Minister Ms Featherstone told the Guardian: "As the Home Office minister with responsibility for tackling violence against women and girls, I am extremely concerned by the sexist and utterly abhorrent statements Julien Blanc has made about women. If he was allowed to perform in the UK I have no doubt that cases of sexual harassment and intimidation would increase.
"Free speech is obviously hugely important, but with free speech comes responsibility. It is not appropriate to talk about choking girls under any circumstances."
Mr Blanc describes himself as an executive coach for Real Social Dynamics (RSD) "the international leader in dating advice".
RSD's website is advertising a "bootcamp" to teach the firm's techniques in London starting on November 27.
A petition on change.org calling for Mr Blanc to be denied a visa has been signed by more than 120,000 people and a social media campaign in Australia saw him forced to cut short his visit there earlier this month.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has also written to Mrs May suggesting she should block Mr Blanc from coming to the UK on the grounds his presence is "not conducive to the public good".
In the letter she said: "Promotional material on websites reportedly linked to Mr Blanc ... promise to 'teach' men how to overcome 'last-minute resistance' from women to having sex including 'teaching' how to 'bring her back from her logical mind, and into an emotional state'. Videos of Blanc apparently include footage of him grabbing women around the throat, as well as instructing men to use physical force to get women to engage with them."
Ms Cooper went on: "Why should we let someone into this country to incite sexual assaults or violence against women? Australia has already sent this man home. Canada want to keep him out. There is plenty of evidence of Mr Blanc's vile views and misogynist business, and no interest for Britain in him being able to promote them here in our communities.
"The Home Office need to investigate him urgently. Theresa May should be able to exercise sensible border control and stop him holding these seminars in our country."
A Home Office spokesman said: "The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.
"It is long-standing practice that we do not comment on individual exclusion cases unless they are made public by the excluded individual.
"This Home Secretary has excluded more foreign nationals on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour than any before her."