PSA: If A Stranger Tries To Kiss You In Hollywood, It Might Be This Guy
If you're a woman walking around Hollywood and a stranger tries to kiss you or hold your hand, it's… well, probably a Saturday. But it also might be someone from Simple Pickup, a group of men known as 'pickup artists' who attempt to teach other men how to meet and have sex with women.
Simple Pickup came to our attention a few months ago when they stashed a bunch of Fleshlights (an adult masturbation aid shaped like a vagina) stuffed with money around Los Angeles. Through their videos, they attempt to teach men how to gain confidence and meet girls using quirky methods, as though all girls are a puzzle that can be solved with the same solution. This whole genre is known as Pickup Artistry, and some Pickup Artists are so despised that they've been banned from entire countries.
The men at Simple Pickup came to our attention again when a 27-year-old Los Angeles musician who only wanted to be identified as M., told us about an experience she had with one of the crew, a Simple Pickup intern she identified as Bijan Chitsaz, in Hollywood.
"A few weeks ago, a stranger came up to me on Hollywood Boulevard and asked if he could kiss me," she said. "I felt bad because I was walking up to meet a date, but he pulled me in and kissed me anyway."
The man identified himself as Bijan and talked her into giving him her number. She said she initially just asked him to friend her on Facebook, but he did not. She ended up reluctantly giving him her phone number. Later on, he texted her to ask her ethnicity. When she told him she was part-Irish, he suggested taking her out to an Irish bar, but feeling uncomfortable, she did not accept.
Later, Facebook suggested Bijan to M. as a friend. Facebook has apparently been suggesting people whose numbers you have in your contacts as friends. M. looked Bijan up and learned that he was part of Simple Pickup, and that the group was trying this kissing ploy on numerous girls in Hollywood, complete with hidden cameras, for their YouTube channel.
"There is something so violating about watching these videos of these poor girls and hearing the exact pickup lines he used on me in person and over text, unsuspecting girl after girl," M. said.
The video asks the question, have you ever been out on a Friday night, spotted an attractive woman and thought, "man, I really want our lips and our genitals to touch?" It also advises that women just want the kiss to happen without having to think about it, so you shouldn't ask for permission. You should tell them that you're going to kiss them later.
While the video does tell Simple Pickup's subscribers not to kiss a girl if she adamantly refuses, they say that a nervous laugh or scoff shouldn't be a deterrent. They completely ignore the fact that many women, like M., may relent because they don't want to be rude, even though they are being made extremely uncomfortable by the forward advances.
Beth Grogan, a 23-year-old woman who works in Hollywood, said she was approached by Bijan when she was standing outside of the Roosevelt waiting for a friend. She said he walked over to her and asked her if she was high because her eyes were red. She said she laughed it off, telling him she had an eye infection.
"He kind of cornered me against the wall a bit and then just stood next to me even though I said I didn't want to chat or hang out," she said. "He kept reiterating how different I seem compared to other girls and how much he 'loves my attitude.'"
She said that after a good 15 to 20 minutes, during which he even talked about street harassment and feminism with her, she finally had to turn hostile to get him to leave her alone so she could wait for her friend in peace. As someone who works in Hollywood, she said this happens to her a lot, even when it isn't some guy trying to make a viral video.
"It makes me feel uncomfortable, unsafe and extremely frustrated that I cannot simply walk home from work without being harassed by a strange male I've explicitly told to leave me alone," she said. "And that he feels it's okay to disrespect me and ignore my protests and continue to try to engage me."
We reached out to Bijan Chitsaz and Simple Pickup for comment on December 26, but have not heard back. However, Bijan has made private or deleted several videos and his Facebook profile. According to Bijan's Facebook profile prior to its disappearance, he was invited to Hollywood for an internship with Simple Pickup based on his own YouTube antics. His channel, DopeDeliveryTV, has been switched to private since we reached out to him. In one video we watched, he tries walking up to women and dropping sexually explicit pickup lines into casual conversations. In another, he sits right next to a woman and stares at her, prompting her to take pepper spray out of her bag. In another, he asks a woman to get naked, and her male companion shoves him into the street. There is a chance, of course, that these reactions were staged, although we're not sure why anyone would want to intentionally show themselves harassing someone to the point of violence or self-defense. Or maybe he doesn't, and that's why the videos have disappeared.
One Simple Pickup member, Kong, recently published a blog post about how they aren't like the other pickup artists. In particular, they reference a pickup artist who suggested choking women as an acceptable way to start a conversation; the Hollaback video of a woman walking down the street in New York; and a YouTuber who went around grabbing women's butts. This probably is a reference to YouTube prankster Sam Pepper, who has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault. To Simple Pickup's credit, they state clearly that "pickup is not harassing women in any way, pickup is not forcing her into anything, pickup is not being physically or emotionally abusive to women."
Which is great, except that women are feeling violated by being fodder for their videos when they're just trying to politely walk down the street, especially when they later learn that they're just a number to sell $2000 meeting women 'bootcamp' packages.
Kong claims that Pickup is about more than just trying to sleep with women and that it's made him a better person. However, a quick glance at their videos and blogs reveals that an overwhelming majority of them are simply about meeting and sleeping with women. There is one about washing your face. To be more confident. To meet more girls.