Months after their official online properties disappeared, the Pickup Artists Academy, a group that gained infamy for tactics that would go as far as harassment and abuse of women, is being accused anew for following women around in commercial areas.
Twitter user @islandwomanrise, who introduced herself as an activist, shared a collection of stories from women who were approached by men they did not know. They said the strangers also followed them around in public.
Several girls have been stalked by PUA Academy members in malls this week. (THREAD) I am so angry and frustrated that no one is paying attention!!! What else needs to happen before someone takes action?! 😤 @SMmalls @AyalaMalls pic.twitter.com/bjsrfuoeT0
— Millennial Mangkukulam (@islandwomanrise) October 21, 2018
Ang sketchy na, everytime may random guy na lumalapit sakin feeling ko may hidden camera somewhere tapos ipopost niya mukha ko sa fb group nila huhu
— Julliene Solidum (@HYPERGUL) October 18, 2018
The testimonies came from students, job applicants and shoppers. The “stalking,” they said, took place in book stores, shopping centers and night clubs in busy districts of Makati, Taguig, Manila and Quezon City.
The scenarios range from striking up a conversation with her to following her until she calls for help. Some accounts suggest that a victim also experienced minor trauma after the incident.
While it’s difficult to verify whether the men cited in the accounts are actual members of the PUA Academy, the Twitter user pointed out that members of the group have a consistent pattern.
In another thread, user @islandwomanrise advised girls and women to share their testimonies online. She also tagged senators Risa Hontiveros and Nancy Binay to act and shut down the academy, which is a registered barangay-level business with the Department of Trade and Industry.
FILIPINAS DESERVE BETTER. Join the campaign to shut down PUA Academy today! Details in thread. DMs are open for anonymous testimonials, and other campaign ideas. Tweet and retweet! We cannot let businesses like this exist! pic.twitter.com/SEaFf4XgTn
— Millennial Mangkukulam (@islandwomanrise) September 2, 2018
Last April, a non-profit women’s organization called Youth against Sexual Harassment exposed the inner workings of the PUA Academy, which is led by a certain Sein Meneses, who goes by the name “Smooth.”
Going dark and coming back
The PUA Academy was founded by Meneses in 2008 as a platform to help men earn “success in women, dating and love.”
Meneses first came into the spotlight in an interview on the now-defunct “The Sweet Life” with hosts Lucy Torres and Wilma Doesnt.
It was only a decade later, however, that the academy was exposed for its objective of picking up women for sex. Women’s groups and victims accused the group of “normalizing rape” and “grooming sexual predators.”
The public outrage months ago forced the PUA Academy to deactivate its social media accounts and website. But its operations apparently continued online and offline, away from its previously recognized sites and accounts.
The group resurfaced online recently, with a restored website and accounts on Facebook and Instagram, among others. On Facebook, the so-called academy calls itself “Asia’s leading dating company” and flaunts even negative publicity, displaying media organizations’ logos on its banner photo.
On Instagram, the group posts photos of its members with women (whom they call “sets”) they supposedly hit off with through their “games.”
On Facebook, it described itself as an “underground society” that teaches men step-by-step techniques and field principles inspired by Canadian pick-up artist Erik von Markovik or “the Mystery.” Markovik was featured in a non-fiction book in 2005 titled “The Game: Undercover in the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.”
The academy claimed that members are not taught to trick or manipulate women to get them laid. “We teach female psychology but we don’t lead women to fall prey to tricks, tactics, and manipulations,” the academy wrote.
The objective is clear, however, and that is to meet women for sex.
The PUAA website also has the same products as before it went dark. It offers free tours, wherein a mentor or a coach goes around places with his students to demonstrate techniques to meet and score women. Workshops are also offered to accompany paying students to places where “beautiful women are found.”