Dan Bilzerian’s Wikipedia page describes him tentatively as an ‘American Actor, poker player, and trust fund beneficiary’, but his status as a ‘public figure’ seems to stem from flashing his inherited cash all over social media and posting pictures of multi-coloured guns. And he has recently been denied a temporary visa preventing him from travelling to Australia. Bilzerian is the second misogynist arse-wipe to be prohibited from the country after self-proclaimed pick-up artist Julian Blanc had his visa revoked several weeks ago.
There’s no doubt that Bilzerian is an unashamedly violent, sexist and conceivably racist man. His denial of a visa comes soon after he was thrown out of a nightclub in Miami for allegedly kicking a woman named Vanessa Castano in the face. She has since filed a police report. In response to allegations, his defence was to say that ‘I am used to doing what I want,’ and that the situation was ‘gonna go two ways, either she makes a scene like she has – or she brags about it to her slutty friends’.
Bilzerian was also recently arrested at an airport in Los Angeles for trying to make a bomb. His controversial Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts show often incredibly problematic pictures of him surrounded by groups of women, usually with offensive captions. In one post, Dan is shown to be drinking at a club with a group of women. He edited the photo so that one woman’s face has been obscured with scribbles, and the caption ‘Ugly girls hurt my eyes, you’re welcome’.
Another post shows Bilzerian firing a gun from a jeep with two half-naked women inside it, while the caption reads: ‘To all you illiterate foreigners talking shit to me in broken English… Fuck you, this is what America looks like’. I could go on, but sifting through Bilzerian’s vile Instagram account is, frankly, depressing.
Sadly, there are thousands of men who share Bilzerian’s attitude towards women. But very few of them also have almost 7 million likes on Facebook and 5.9 million followers on Instagram. He is more influential, perhaps, than he realises. And if the comments on most of his pictures are anything to go by, millions of his followers idolise him as a role model. There are few people in the world I despise more than Dan Bilzerian, but his fame and fan-base are undeniably strong. This is extremely worrying.
One in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence and Bilzerian actively promotes the dehumanisation of women as sex objects. In some instances, this extends to a vicious hatred of women, and this normalises this kind of violence – it allows it to flourish. As you might expect from a man who needs a collection of classy crocodile skin guns and over-sized cars to replace a sadly lacking personality, his misogyny is unsubtle. In response to being denied a temporary visa, he claimed that ‘Australia looks like shit anyway. I’d prefer to stay at home with my cat and sleep with women that I hate.’ Even in presumably jokey comments like this, there is a worryingly violent undertone to the notion that his hatred of women and his sexual desire for them seem to go hand in hand. His open abhorrence of women and treatment of them as his property is breath-taking.
That said, I pass no judgement on the women who share his company. It isn’t up to me to tell other women what they should or shouldn’t do. I’m not denying their ability to make their own decisions in partying, posing or sleeping with Dan Bilzerian. I’m also not naïve enough to think that Bilzerian cares what many people think about his lifestyle or his attitudes toward women. If he were to read this article, at best he would likely shrug it off, and at worst make some unintelligent claim about its author being ugly/jealous/bitter/sad/etc.
Here, I want to speak to those who idolise him.
Bilzerian’s lifestyle may seem perfect; he has disposable income coming out of his eyeballs, he has expensive cars, a private jet and seems constantly to be surrounded by beautiful women. But he is nothing to aspire to. He has achieved nothing worthwhile. Getting lucky with gambling and being able to pick that perfect Instagram filter for a shot of his sparkly new gun does not a role model make. The values he stands for are the notions that big rooms full of expensive crap make for happiness, once admitting that the life he lives is a ‘hollow existence’.
His philosophy is that ‘if you want to be taken seriously, it helps to have a big gun, or big tits, but not both.’ His view of the world is ignorant, simplistic, and he seems poised to gun down anyone who challenges it. This is not the world-view to aspire to. Bilzerian’s values are regressive, his philosophy un-inspiring and unhelpful. Better to aspire to those who fight for equality in every sense of the word, who stand for acceptance of diversity, whose values are progressive and who use their influence responsibly to send out positive messages. As more and more celebrities are openly embracing feminism, while he eloquently claims that ‘feminism is bad’, I can’t help but think that the world is running out of room for people like Dan Bilzerian, big gun in hand or not.