Inside Incel: Alek Minassian and online misogyny – The Fifth Estate

Inside Incel: Alek Minassian and online misogyny – The Fifth Estate


Announcer:
The following program…
[♪♪] -[ Mark ] We’re setting up for
an interview to help shed some light on a dark place. 256 gigs per drive, and
I’ve got two of these drives. -[ Mark ] In a virtual world
that’s hard to penetrate. -How are you?
-I’m doing well. So, before we get going, what
would you like me to call you? Toby’s fine. Okay, well good to
meet you Toby, I’m Mark. Nice to meet you, Mark. Why, hello my friends, and
welcome back to another episode of Egg Wars. -[ Mark ] Toby is part of
the fire and the fury in the fellowship of involuntary
celibates or Incels. So much fucking rage
in my fucking body. -[ Mark ] Men who’ve been
rejected by women and now they want their revenge. Women are not fit to vote. They just follow wherever
they are led, like dogs. -[ Mark ] And guys like him are
getting more attention because sometimes the virtual
world he lives in collides with our real world. I think all men deep down are
really pissed off at women. I wish you all were dead. You’re all just
pieces of shit to me. -[ Mark ] And the
consequences can be deadly. You’re all going to die.
Pew, pew, pew, pew. [ ♪♪ ] -[ Mark ] April 23rd, 2018,
north Toronto. Eight minutes of terror. At about 1:30 pm, a white van
jumped the curb and ploughed into a number of pedestrians. It’s just pure carnage. -[ Mark ] A rented van with
a driver on a mission to kill. He turned left a little bit and
hit the lady on the sidewalk. That’s when I saw he
was very angry and scared. -[ Mark ] And kill he did.
Ten people would die. Eight were women. That could have been us. -[ Mark ] Another sixteen
were injured, some critically. We tried to help her,
like, to stop the bleeding. Get down!
Get down! -[ Mark ] And many people may
remember the incident not for how it started, but for
how unlikely it ended. Peacefully. Police arrested
25-year old Alek Minassian, a man with no criminal history.
His trial will be in 2020. Until then, his
defense a mystery. These are not the kinds of
things that we expect to happen in this city. -[ Mark ] Officials were quick
to label the attack an isolated incident perpetrated
by a lone wolf. The crisis, it
appeared, was over. There would appear to be no
national security connection to this particular incident. -[ Mark ] But what could
motivate this kind of madness? Minassian left
one alarming clue. The accused is alleged to
have posted a cryptic message on Facebook, minutes before he
began driving the rented van. -[ Mark ] The Incel
rebellion has already begun! All hail the supreme
gentleman Elliot Rodger! And that started us on our
investigation where we find ten months after the attack, the
spirit of Alek Minassian and the Incel rebellion lives on. Hey, Elliott Rodger here. -[ Mark ] You can trace the
trail of dead back to this guy. I’ve experienced nothing
but loneliness and misery. And my problem, is girls. -[ Mark ] He’s the one
Minassian praised moments before the van attack. Tomorrow is the
day of retribution. The day in which I will have
my revenge against humanity. Against all of you.
See? Look at how fabulous I look! -[ Mark ] The 22-year-old
university student posted this video shortly
before going on his own killing spree back in 2014. I will slaughter every single
spoiled, stuck up, blond slut. You will finally see that I
am in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male. -[ Mark ] He killed six
people, injured 14 others before killing himself. His killing spree didn’t
only inspire Minassian. My colleague has been monitoring
Incel chat groups for months and because she’s a woman, making
her a target of their hate, we have cloaked her identity. If you have nothing to
lose then going ER is legit. But who are they
encouraging here? Anyone who posts about thinking
about doing something like this. Or someone who posts about
wanting to kill themselves. They encourage them
to do this instead. Instead of killing
themselves they should go out and kill women? Yup. -[ Mark ] “Going ER” is an
Incel term encouraging others to go on their own killing spree. It’s a much better alternative
than ending up another forgotten suicide statistic. Helps them identify with a
movement that empathizes with their plight. Wow. -[ Mark ] Did
this online community, these keyboard warriors,
inspire Minassian to kill? And did he feel at home in their
world of anger and isolation? Minassian’s past is
shrouded by the fact he seemed to have few friends. What’s it feel for you, to be
coming back to your old school? It’s weird. I haven’t walked down this
road in a very long time. -Oh, no?
-Yeah, no. -[ Mark ] To find out more about
him, I meet up with a classmate who spent four years at
high school with Minassian. Yeah, he was constantly bullied.
Yeah, he was on, constantly picked on by other
students, other kids. -[ Mark ] She’s asked to remain
anonymous because she doesn’t want to be associated
with this tragedy. -They had a nickname for him.
-What was his nickname? -They called him Chewbacca.
-Chewbacca, from Star Wars? -Yes,
-And why was that? Because he had a thing
where he would meow at people or try to bite them. But I think he did that because
he thought that, or other people thought that it was funny, or
he was trying to make friends, but he did it in
such a way that it… -It just isolated him even more.
-Yeah. -[ Mark ] She says Minassian
was in special needs classes in high school, his odd
behaviour making him a target. I would walk to my car and I
would just constantly see kids just picking on him, even
like surrounding him and kind of provoking him into
making those meowing noises. When did you put two and two
together that you’d gone to school with this guy? It wasn’t until
hours after that. I didn’t even recognize the name
because nobody knew his name. His name was Chewbacca. He didn’t even have
a name in school. -[ Mark ] Fast forward ten years
to Minassian wrapping up his computer studies in college. In a group chat with
classmates, he wrote, “Finally finished college. “F–k you all
and good riddance.” That was four days
before the van attack. So, what can trigger
an attack like this? I’m off to meet a therapist who
deals with patients who’ve been bullied and rejected. Killing school-time people. Robyn Holloway shows me drawings
by one his patients depicting his violent fantasies. So, he goes to New York. David spent all day in New
York killing the people. -[ Mark ] His
patient was autistic. It’s believed Minassian is too. I think a lot of them carry
around feelings of being treated unjustly and unfairly. Because of all the rejections
they feel they have experienced over time. -[ Mark ] Holloway insists
people on the autism spectrum are not more
violent than others, but they are
more vulnerable, making them prey to
groups like the Incels. Finally, you can be empowered.
You’re no longer a victim. You can now be the bully.
You can do something. I know what I have to do to
get vengeance for how I’ve been treated for so many years. So that can be
the tipping point. ♪ Running through those hoes
like I’m Alek Minassian ♪ -[ Mark ] The vengeance
of that van attack inspired this song and video. ♪ Up over a curb like
I’m Alek Minassian ♪ -[ Mark ] A tribute
to Alek Minassian. ♪ Die motherfucker, die ♪ -[ Mark ] We wanted to find
the man who wrote the song, and that’s what led
us to Toby Reynolds, aka Egg Man or Egg White. This is your boy. Egg White, aka
Pussy Obliterator. -[ Mark ] He livestreams,
essentially online rants, for hours at a time. He’s been dubbed a
messiah by his Incel audience. Rest in peace to Elliot Rodger.
You know how we get down. We’re rocking this
special shirt today. -[ Mark ] If we can’t talk to
Minassian, perhaps we can learn something from a
member of the movement that might have
helped inspire him. Have you had a lot of that in
your life though, where you’ve felt that you were
alienated or marginalized? Long story short, yes, I think
it was a recurring theme that I was kind of generally
an outsider looking in. -[ Mark ] He’s 28, out of
school, a video gamer with no job and no
hope for his future. What did the girls think of you?
Did you have any girlfriends? All of the women
who had rejected me. I was 23 years old at the time.
Going on 24. Never had a girlfriend. I was just a hideous,
mutant, monster, freak, and reviled upon the world
every time I stepped outside. You know, people were probably
vomiting just looking at me. That’s just how I felt. ♪ Die motherfucker, die ♪
♪ Motherfucker die ♪ -[ Mark ] His Minassian
song has given him what he craves, attention. Though banned by YouTube, the
song lives on with more than 200,000 views. So, what do we do with
the Tobies of the world? So, we can’t just let these
kinds of things go on the forums that we see them in. We need to call
them out, we need to have discussions about them. -[ Mark ] And when we
come back, I’ll do just that. But don’t you see here that
this is part of the problem? That this is
feeding the resentment, this is feeding the misogyny. And at worst, this is
feeding the violence. [ ♪♪ ] After I have annihilated every
single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets
of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. My name is Nick and I’m gonna be
the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people. With an AR-15 and a
couple trace rounds. I think I can do a good time. Location is Stone
Douglas and Parkland Florida. -[ Mark ] Nikolas Cruz
carried through on his threat. He’s been charged
with killing 17 people. It’s tempting to dismiss these
men as lone wolves not driven by an ideology like
conventional terrorists, but are these acts of
violence really that random? Our quest to learn more
about Incels brings us to Grinnell, Iowa. A graceful town built around its
175-year-old college named after the town.
The school’s motto? Truth and humanity. We’ve come here looking
for a little of both. You can see that there’s a
conversation amongst the Incels. How does your
Inceldom affect you? What does it mean to you? -[ Mark ] I’m here with Ross
Handler, a prof who specializes in deviance and
youth sub-culture. I think it kind of gives us a
nice window into the rejection and the depression that some of
the Incels are really feeling. -[ Mark ] He’s been
tracking Incel chatter. And this post with the
avatar of Elliot Rodger, one of the heroes, gives you a
nice example of how mass killers can be venerated
in this community. [ ♪♪ ] -[ Mark ] So, what
led you to Incels? Incels is just a contemporary
example of what I’ve been interested in all along, a group
of men that are engaged in kind of a backlash against women and
who are struggling with what it means to be a man in an
environment where they, they sort of feel their
moorings have come unglued. -[ Mark ] But why is that
turning to violence? So, the vast majority
of Incels are not violent. They’re not acting
out their violence. -[ Mark ] But from what I’ve
seen is when there is an act of violence, it’s celebrated and
encouraged for others to follow. Why is there that
celebration of violence? I think that the
“Elliot Rodgers” and other mass killers, they do sometimes
take on a mythical quality because, for some Incels, they
embody the ultimate form of resistance against a feminist
culture that doesn’t value them for who they are. -[ Mark ] We just wanted to
show you something that we had come across. This is a tribute to
Alek Minassian song. [ ♪♪ ] [ Screaming ] ♪ Running through these hoes
like I’m Alek Minassian ♪ ♪ Hoes suck my dick when
I run over pedestrians ♪ -[ Mark ] So, what do you
see when you see that? I see a lot of anger. But the fact that he can
expect to express these very misogynist, very violent
sentiments and can expect to get celebrated for that from
a certain constituency that’s terrifying. But, if you were to have an
opportunity to speak to this individual, where
would you start? I would just want to listen
for a few minutes, honestly. I have a lot of
things I could say. And a lot of
criticism I would offer. But, I would want to hear,
what led you to produce something like this? -[ Mark ] Well, that’s what
I wanted to know too when I talked to the guy who
wrote it, Toby Reynolds. I mean, certainly this to
me sounds like a call to arms for others. Yeah, I mean, I could
definitely see that, uh, aspect, but um, I definitely
did not have that in mind. -[ Mark ] But online
in the Incel community, there’s a lot of
talk of violence, there’s a lot of retribution,
there’s a lot of talk of misogyny and when I look
at your song it just seems to fit right into it. Don’t you see this as
part of the problem? Am I adding fuel to
the fire by, you know, doing something like that? I would say, quite possibly. And I have considered, you know,
stepping away from being online and kind of having
a presence online. I feel like for those
young, impressionable men, I don’t necessarily
want to, you know, steer them wrong. -[ Mark ] An Elliot Rodger
or Alek Minassian, they get treated as heroes
by some people in the Incel community. Don’t you think that this
can incite other lonely, desperate people to kill? I would say
definitely so, yeah. There’s people out there that
are completely shut out of the world and they want to
react in a violent way. [ ♪♪ ] -[ Mark ] And we see evidence
of that time and time again on the very public Incel forums. I’m just struck by
how much there is here, how many people are weighing in
about Alek and actually putting him on a pedestal. And it’s interesting, in a lot
of ways people on here seem to think he’s more of a
hero than Elliot Rodger is. -[ Mark ] A hero or a zero. 63% say he’s a hero. In just ten months, it seems
Minassian has gone from a follower to a foot soldier
in the Incel rebellion. One of the first things I found
was this and it’s a poster. -[ Mark ] Wow. And has this van attack
added more fuel to an already burning fire? Are they really a lone wolf
when they’re operating in a community like this? It seems to me that they are
part of something bigger here. If we just focus on that action
and that moment and maybe even his history, we miss this larger
community that’s reinforcing the beliefs that are underlying
those violent acts. -[ Mark ] Absolutely.
– And that’s a mistake. We can minimize the kinds of
context that produce the kinds of violence that
we’re seeing here. But that takes hard work and
it’s a lot more complicated than describing someone as a
lone wolf or mentally ill. -[ Mark ] Incels are one pillar
in a larger community of right-wing extremists in
the US, Canada, and beyond. I’m wondering how big of a
threat do you see right wing extremism in Canada today? Barbara Perry says it’s time
for authorities in Canada to wake up to the threat of
the far-right movement. She’s an expert in hate crime. If you look at the sort of
success of, reports on the terrorist threat in Canada,
there’s generally, either the far right isn’t mentioned
or they’re dismissed out of hand, as you
know not a threat, not organized, not coherent, and
therefore you know not a risk. -[ Mark ] And you
think they are? Oh, absolutely I think they are. We identified just what we’re
looking at between 1985 and 2014, 2015, over 120 incidents
of violence associated with the far right during the same
period of time there were seven incidents of Islamist
inspired extremism. So, I think that really puts
in context what the risk is. -[ Mark ] She considers
right wing extremists a clear and present danger
to national security. Our national security doesn’t
just rely on or revolve around physical security but
also the sense of inclusion. The divisiveness that is a
result of hate crime is also very damaging, very harmful
to national security in a very different way but anything
that weakens our sense of togetherness, our sense of
unity, you know, weakens our capacity, weakens our
resilience to withstand other kinds of attacks. -[ Mark ] And it may
sound subtle, but even Public Safety Minister
Ralph Goodale mentioned right wing violence recently
in a speech about people who’ve become “radicalized
to extreme violence.” The van attack along Yonge
street in Toronto earlier last year had those kinds of roots. So, we have seen instances in
Canada where extreme right-wing organizations have been active. ♪ Scared of me ♪ ♪ I think she’s scared of me ♪ -[ Mark ] So, where do we start? Well it may be difficult to
confront an entire movement but what about trying to
reach one person at a time? Someone like Toby? ♪ Give me that service that
just ain’t fair to me ♪ -[ Mark ] Why would you want to
be associated in any way with any kind of community that
promotes this kind of violence against women? I differ from you know, some of
the extreme members because even if I was at some kind of
place where I was just that far, like, extremist
into it, I dunno. I wouldn’t say I disavow
the Incel people. That would be like me
turning my back on just the average guy who’s kind
of a bumbling type of individual who’s kind of like
a social outcast. ♪ I just wanna kill so
many fucking people ♪ -[ Mark ] But don’t you see that
this is part of the problem? That this is, this is
feeding the resentment, this is feeding the misogyny? And at worse this is
feeding the violence? I mean… I do.
I do. And I think that probably the
best solution to my involvement is to sort of just kind of you
know step away from the scene, kind of whatever problems I have
personally to kind of take them away from you know the
magnifying glass of sorts. -[ Mark ] We talked for
nearly three hours and then something
unexpected happened. Yeah, well, I mean,
you’re right. I only see it as a–
I only see it as just music, you know, but
you’re right though. You’re very right. And I do think that
this conversation today, I think it’s making my mind up
kind of where I’ve been thinking would be a beneficial thing
for me to kind of wrap this, to basically, to not
be this anymore. I do thank you for,
you know, basically, kind of giving me some, I
think, possibly sorely needed inflection and self-reflection
that I haven’t maybe had. So, I appreciate that.
I do. -[ Mark ] By taking Toby
out of his echo chamber, it appeared there was
hope for redemption. After our interview, he
stopped live streaming, deleted his twitter
account and the link to that Minassian video. So, in any case
to sum it up here, pretty much I guess
I’m going dark. I’m going woosh. I don’t know. Hopefully I don’t end up in
gitmo for making a rap song. [♪♪]

Danny Hutson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *