“A cult with violent intent; misogyny in its most extreme and dangerous form” - The New Stateman
There is an increasing number of young men who hate women and feel oppressed by their lack of interest in them, expressing misogynistic, misanthropic and racist ideologies across social media platforms. Comprising mostly heterosexual white men, Incels are ‘involuntary celibates’, who are unable to achieve romantic or sexual relationships with women. They have recently been described as a “part of the online supremacist ecosystem”, after eight mass murders and sixty-one deaths across the US since 2014 and this cult is now being identified as a growing threat in the UK.
The movement gained widespread attention in May 2014, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger stabbed and shot students at the University of California, killing six and injuring fourteen before killing himself. An act which he had labelled his “war on women” in a YouTube video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, in this video he also outlined his plans and motives, explaining he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and also punish sexually active men, as he was jealous of them. Scotland Yard Counter Terrorism and MI5 have flagged the threat of Incels in the UK, after preventing two cases. In March 2020, Anwar Driouich, also 22, from Middlesbrough was jailed for his possession of 10kg of ammonium nitrate and seven terrorist manuals. It was also discovered during the investigation that Driouich had been researching Incels, alongside mass shootings and terrorist attacks. He wrote on his Facebook that he wanted “to massacre this place” and that he had “no hope with girls... pathetic”. Then in May 2021, Oliver Bel, a Cambridge graduate with a “general interest in extreme violence”, was arrested for buying bomb-making manuals on Amazon and communicating his desire to “go ER”: a plan to follow in Rodger's footsteps.
Shockingly, the issue of Incel violence has been growing rapidly in the past year, especially here in the UK. On the 12th of August 2021, 22-year-old Jake Davison shot and killed five people in Plymouth, Devon, injuring two others before turning the gun on himself. Davison was identified as a member of the Incel community after the discovery of his ramblings in YouTube videos and Reddit blogs, which repeatedly referenced the cult and his self-pity rants, complaining about having never kissed a girl, receiving any tinder matches and being a “fat”, “ugly” virgin. Davison did not “clarify [himself] as an Incel”, rather obsessing over his appearance and asking people to rate him on his Reddit and expressing a desire for a “government funded Incel social program or rehab center”. He labelled himself as ‘black pill-er', a group unworthy of love, beliving their relationships are “destined to end in failure”. Before his attack Jake posted a new video on YouTube, announcing he felt “beaten down” and “defeated by life”, speaking negatively about his mother classifying her as “abusive”, “disgusting” and “vile”. Jake Davidson murdered his mother, Maxine Davidson after beating down her front door, the proceeded to turn his gun onto members of the public, killing 3-year-old Sophie Martyn, her father Lee Martyn, Stephen Washington, who was out walking his dog at the time of the attack, and local artist Kate Shepherd. His shooting was celebrated across Incel forums by the hundreds of thousands of supporters, for “accomplish[ing] his mission”.
Jonathan Hall, the Terrorism Legislation Tsar for the UK, admitted that there are “considerable difficulties” in identifying the difference between online motives and real-life acts of terrorism. This means that even though this cult regularly discusses the annihilation of women, the police won’t be taking down any of their platforms on social media, as it is ‘too difficult’ for them to decipher between written threats and actual threats.
An antifascism campaign group, Hope not Hate, stated that Incels are “dangerous and radicalizing...built on misogyny and a twisted desperate world view”. The group has also expressed a need for this topic to be “taken seriously, in schools, by social media firms and the government”. As many people lack a knowledge and understanding of the Incel community, they recognize the crimes but not where they stem from. As for policing social media platforms themselves, by taking down reddit blogs and YouTube channels of Incel members, this will take away their voice and ability to plot and discuss potentially life-threatening ideas.
For more information about the Hope not Hate campaign, follow the link below: