6:37 p.m. July 26, 2013

Skeeving Las Vegas: Epilogue

An epilogue to the story of Chris Curtis -- the pickup artist / author of "MACK Tactics" who has been put in charge of women's safety in downtown Vegas.

On last night's show, Dayvid Figler raised an important question: to what extent should someone's past (in this case, as a proud sexual predator) prevent him from doing good later in life? As one who has written about his own past, as an alcoholic and general fucking dick, I'm certainly a good person to ask.

My position, as I explained it on the show, is this: if you admit your mistakes and make demonstrable efforts to change, over a sustained period of time, you at least get the right to object to people dragging up your past. (Note: that still doesn't mean it's ok for a former pickup artist to be put in charge of safety after dark, it just means he gets the chance to at least plead his case).

In Curtis' case, there are some caveats: according to multiple sources in the Downtown Project, his new employers were "not aware" of Curtis' past as the guy who refers to "hot" women as "targets" and "hammers" -- and who says every interaction with women should be seen as an opportunity to get "something in return". It's odd that he wouldn't mention such a clearly relevant wrinkle at interview, and terrifying that DTP aparently doesn't even Google job advocates. Likewise, it seems clear that the site promoting his book -- while peddling even more grotesque pickup manuals and flat-out porn -- is still operated by Curtis' writing partner, Rob Wiser, using the pseudonym "Dean Cortez". Also troubling: the third partner in MACKTactics Management LLC -- with Curtis and Wiser -- is Ronen Olshansky, an LA-based entrepreneur who once physically threatened my sometime-writing-partner Sarah Lacy after she spoke unfavourably about his current company, CrossCampus.

The deciding factor, I suppose, is what Curtis did between 2005 when he published MACK Tactics and 2013 when he joined the Downtown Project.

The answer to that question arrived today from a tipster, who provided a link to LoveJitsu, a self-help program that Curtis was promoting until at least late last year. According to the site, he is working on a book with the same name (subtitle: Why Tap / A Lovewarrior's Journey). My tipster also says before Curtis was hired by DTP, he had planned to open a "Love Dojo," whatever that is.

Certainly, judging by the promotional video for Lovejitsu, Curtis has segued from a full on pickup artist to a proponent of love in all its many marketable forms.

Whether that counts as a mea culpa for his previous work, I'll let you decide. For now, though, I'll leave the Chris Curtis story there.