Daryush Valizadeh, aka “Roosh,” one of the loudest, most vulgar voices in the misogynistic “manosphere” and an infamous advocate for state-sanctioned rape, appears to have found God.
In a recent post on his personal forum, where users come to brag about their conquests and share their best pickup lines, the blogger announced he was “coming out” as an Orthodox Christian. He said he was inspired by the death of his sister, the decline of society, and a recent psychedelic mushroom trip. He titled the post “The God pill.”
“The God pill does feel like the final destination, where life becomes about asking Him for help and performing His will in a way that embraces good,” Valizadeh wrote in the post, which was first reported by the site We Hunted the Mammoth.
“My mind is currently buzzing with this new perspective, and I wouldn't be surprised if much of my new work will be framed around it.”
Valizadeh, who made a career out of teaching men how to pick up women, proceeded to ban forum participants from discussing casual sex and hooking up. Topics such as “meeting women with the intention of fornicating with them” and “how to bang” are now banned from the pages, while discussion of “going on dates,” “attracting women,” and “sexual activity while married” is encouraged. Valizadeh’s book, Bang—which he billed as “a tightly written, no-bullshit textbook on getting laid”—is out of print and no longer available for sale on his website.
“I was baptized in an Armenian Apostolic church as a child,” he tweeted. “I'm going to remain Orthodox. I do believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.”
Valizadeh did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment.
Valizadeh initially rose to internet notoriety as a pickup artist in 2007, blogging about his attempted seductions in Washington, D.C., and on trips abroad. Valizadeh’s fans pored over his posts for clues on how they could get laid, right as pickup artistry was enjoying a popular moment driven by the hit book The Game.
He sold his own series of books, premised on the idea that he could teach readers how to “bang” in countries like Colombia. Valizadeh’s method often faltered in countries with stronger social safety nets, though. Fuming after an unsuccessful trip to Denmark, Valizadeh warned his fans “don’t bang Denmark.” (The Roosh V forum rules now explicitly ban asking about where to travel to have sex.)
As pickup artist fever cooled online, Valizadeh, like other members of the anger-filled subculture, moved on to far-right politics and more explicit online misogyny.
He launched an explicitly anti-women site, Return of Kings, which promoted fat-shaming women online and ran articles with titles like “5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder.” In 2015, Valizadeh proposed making rape legal on private property. He eventually shut down Return of Kings in late 2018, after a Paypal made it difficult for him to make money through the site.
Valizadeh has also made inroads with white nationalist groups, even though he is not white. In 2015, Valizadeh gave a speech at a conference organized by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. Racial differences aside, Valizadeh and white nationalist groups have found common ground on the idea that “feminism is behind the decline of Western Civilization,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Valizadeh’s new focus on finding a wife mirrors the changes in the extremist “manosphere” over the past decade. Initially, would-be pickup artists believed in promises from gurus that they would have no difficulty finding casual sexual partners if they just followed certain rules. When those available women failed to materialize, many amateur pickup artists claimed that the real issue was modern feminism. On their forums, they began to focus instead on finding just one, traditional, often virginal woman to marry: a so-called “trad wife.”
Valizadeh’s embrace of religion may be an attempt to pivot to this new, more fashionable brand of misogyny. But the blogger claims finding God was the result of more emotional life events. In since-deleted tweets on the subject, Valizadeh linked to a eulogy for his sister in which he claimed her death from cancer in March 2018 made him feel “like a fool” for his pursuit of fame and women. A message he received while on psychedelic mushrooms, he wrote in his forum post, “further cemented that faith.”
“This was the hardest thing I've ever had to write in my life, but it had to be shared for you to understand where the path is taking me next,” he tweeted. “The blue, red, and black pills were transitory stages I had to experience in order to take the final ‘pill’: God.”
Some of the guru’s adherents appeared satisfied with the change. One commenter on his forum posted called it “the single most intriguing thing you've written to date.” Another commenter said he was going through the exact same changes in life. A recent tweet, in which Valizadeh compared a woman leading a man over a bridge to Satan leading someone into hell, garnered more than 2,500 likes.
But others were less impressed. “Any change that leads to Roosh not interacting with women at all seems like a net good,” writer Sara Luterman snarked on Twitter. Rebecca Schoenkopf, editor of the blog Wonkette, added she was “not buying it for a second.”
And while Valizadeh claims his views on sex have changed, his disdain for women remains. He recently tweeted a video of a woman being violently pulled from the roof of a car and criticized women who “dress like prostitutes at the gym.”
In a recent livestream titled “Holy Water,” Valizadeh explained that it was women’s fault that men were committing sins. It was Eve, he pointed out, who ate the apple first, and Adam—”that big dummy”—who made the mistake of following her.
“This is what us men have been doing, this is what I have been doing, and I have the words to prove it,” he told his 50,000 followers. “I have chronicled how I have done this… And what do you get out of that? Nothing. All that you get is a book out of it that you’re embarrassed by.”