The suspect accused of a deadly van attack in Toronto wrote about an “Incel Rebellion” on Facebook, prompting huge attention on a little-known internet subculture. Who are the young men who frequent incel – short for “involuntarily celibate” – message boards?
“Obviously I don’t have much hope of attracting a woman in the first place.”
Jack Peterson is a 19-year-old from Chicago. He’s one of the thousands of young men who visit forums on Reddit and other incel websites.
“I’ve had a couple of negative experiences in relationships and so that has made me feel, like you know… it’s hard to move on from my past and start a new relationship,” he says. “I’ve had women who have done pretty bad things to me.”
These overall themes of failure and frustration – along with anger and hate – are common on incel forums. I spoke to several young men who call themselves incel. They’re in their teens or early 20s and many have experienced rejection or negative encounters with women.