AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday took on the controversial “Return of Kings” organization — a group whose members have advocated legalization of rape — over planned Saturday rallies in seven Texas cities.

“This pathetic group and their disgusting viewpoints are not welcome in Texas,” Abbott said. “I’ve spent much of my career protecting women from such vile and heinous acts, and it won’t be any different on my watch as Governor.”

“Return of Kings” is a blog known for praising ‘neomasculinity’ and regarding feminism as a destroyer of family units. According to its website, some of its tenets include that ‘a woman’s value significantly depends on her fertility and beauty’, while ‘a man’s value significantly depends on his resources, intellect, and character’.

The online group will hold 165 meetings in 43 countries for an international meetup day on Feb. 6. Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso and Nederland are on the list.

The site claims the planned meet-ups are to be a “safe space for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed.” It has been under continuous attack after advocate Daryush Valizadeh published a blog post calling for the legalization of rape on private property.

On the website, Valizadeh said that because of reports of organized protests, some of the meetups will now have hidden locations, “so that men can still meet in private away from a loud, obnoxious, dishonest, and potentially violent mob”.

He said the meetups were never intended as a confrontation with “unattractive women and their enablers,” according to the website.

This story was published in the Houston Chronicle on Feb. 4, 2016.

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