CANADA: Toronto van attacker hated women – VIDEO
People leave signs, cards and flowers at a memorial on Yonge Street on Tuesday. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)
Facebook post linked to Toronto van attack points to insular, misogynistic world of ‘incels’
Alek Minassian, 25, facing 10 counts of 1st-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder
The deadly van attack in Toronto is shining a spotlight on the controversial, often misogynistic world of “incels.”
The term incel is short for “involuntarily celibate,” and the community that uses the label is typically dominated by men voicing frustration online about their lack of sexual relationships, sometimes blaming women for their failures with the opposite sex.
Toronto police said Tuesday that Alek Minassian, the 25-year-old suspected of driving the van that plowed into pedestrians on a busy stretch of Yonge Street in Toronto’s north end Monday, killing 10 people, is alleged to have published “a cryptic post on Facebook minutes before he began driving the rented van.”
Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Fourteen people remain in hospital.
Tuesday live blog recap of van attack aftermath
“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys. All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” reads the post.
Facebook confirmed the authenticity of the public post, created under a profile on the social networking site belonging to an Alek Minassian that has since been deleted by the company.
The suspect is 25-year-old Alek Minassian, who is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and 14 counts of attempted murder. (LinkedIn)
“It’s something that we’ll take into account in this investigation,” Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson said of the post, before declining to speculate on a motive.
Police said the victims in Monday’s attack were “predominantly women.”
Incel group banned on Reddit
Members of the incel community are active on online platforms associated with the alt-right, said Maxime Fiset, a former neo-Nazi who now works at the Montreal-based Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence and tracks websites espousing extreme or violent views.
Alt-right is an umbrella term, coined by U.S. by white supremacist Richard Spencer, used to refer to a movement that takes in elements of the far-right and white-nationalism and has been associated with misogynistic and homophobic views.
In the incel community, “Chad” is a name used as a stand-in for conventionally attractive men who always seem to succeed with women while “Stacys” are unattainable women who always turn them down.
A number of incel-related posts have idolized Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old California man who killed six people and injured a dozen more during a deadly rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014.
In the wake of that attack, police found a trail of YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto in which Rodger ranted against women and lamented the fact he remained a virgin in college.
The Facebook post referenced Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014, leaving behin a trail of YouTube videos and a 140-page manifesto ranting against women. (YouTube/Associated Press)
The term incel grabbed headlines last November when the online discussion platform Reddit banned the community and its main thread — r/Incels — for violating its policy against content that glorifies or incites violence.
At the time, the group had more than 40,000 members.
It’s a very toxic environment of people who seem to be disfranchised with society.- Maxime Fiset, Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence
“It’s a very toxic environment of people who seem to be disfranchised with society and who may, [or] who have actually, in the past, tried to seek revenge against society or those they think are responsible for their ills,” said Fiset.
He said the majority of people who are active in incel groups are not violent, but the online forums can sometimes act as incubators for radicalization by justifying the ideologies being shared among members.
“They have this huge resentment towards society and women, mostly women, because they feel that women are rejecting them even though they see themselves as nice guys. And that is the feeling of injustice that can fuel radicalization,” Fiset said.
Sociologist discusses what might drive alienated men to commit acts of violence:
Judith Taylor, associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, talks about what might lead disenfranchised men who feel rejected by women and society to take their anger out on others through violent means. 8:24
The origins of the word “incel” can reportedly be traced back to a Canadian woman known in the media by only her first name, Alana.
Alana told Elle magazine in 2016 that she came up with the term while trying to find a label for her own sexual identity and create an inclusive online space for people who didn’t fit the conventional pattern of adult sexual experiences and relationships.
“I was trying to create a movement that was open to anybody and everybody,” she told the magazine.
‘High degree of misogyny’
Aditi Natasha Kini is a New York-based journalist who wrote about incel culture for the news website Vice — and faced a deluge of harassment and threats online as a result.
She describes incels as cisgender heterosexual men who haven’t had sex — “not out of choice.”
“On the surface, incel sounds harmless,” Kini told CBC Radio’s As it Happens. “It sounds like someone who is trying to make sense of why they cannot connect with other people.”
But, she says, there’s “a high degree of misogyny” in the “self-created” incel community.
“There is a growing faction of men who have found outlets for their anger against women and dating culture in general online. And that’s been codified into a sort of indoctrination,” she said.
“They have lingo. They have educative documentation. And I think it just reifies and confirms itself [or] establishes itself through these echo chambers online.”
The damaged van was seized by police after striking multiple people along a northern stretch of Toronto’s busy Yonge Street. (Saul Porto/Reuters)
According to Kini, such communities intentionally leave out women and gay people because they believe those groups have easier access to sex.
Incels, on the other hand, believe themselves to be so undesirable that they’ll never be successful when it comes to love or sex “because of how they were born and how they look,” she said. Gaining dating experience or learning pick-up techniques won’t help, they believe.
Kini said she’s seen a lot of discussion about revenge in such communities, including in the wake of Monday’s attack. Others, she said, were questioning whether Minassian was a true “incel” or rather someone simply looking to tarnish the group’s name.
“It just hard to parse how much people are saying things to be trolls [or] how much they mean it,” she said.
Little else is known about Minassian, who is from Richmond Hill, Ont., and was attending Seneca College int he north of Toronto.
The Department of National Defence confirmed Tuesday that the 25-year-old joined the Canadian Forces last August and was 16 days into his basic training before he was asked to leave.
A senior official with the Forces said Minassian wasn’t adapting to military life, including in matters of dress, deportment and group interactions in a military setting but that “there were no red flags and nothing that would point to anything like this.”
A mourner attends a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial on Yonge Street in Toronto Tuesday following the deadly van attack. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 25, 2018 at 09:48AM