(Reuters) - An Ontario man accused of using a rented van as a weapon in Canada’s deadliest mass murder in decades declared himself to be a soldier in the “incel” rebellion, a term referring to a loose social media movement of men who blame women for their celibacy.
Alek Minassian, 25, of the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in Tuesday’s driving rampage.
Canadian authorities have declined to say whether anger toward women motivated the attack. The majority of the victims were women, ranging in age from their mid-20s to early 80s.
Before the attack, Minassian expressed his support for incel, short for “involuntary celibate,” on a Facebook account believed to be his. The account was taken down after the rampage.
The following are some facts about incel:
- On a Facebook account linked to Minassian, a posting praised Elliot Rodger a 22-year-old who killed six people in 2014 in California and who posted YouTube videos saying he was motivated by rage against women. Minassian’s Facebook posting read in part: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun.”
- Rodger had posted three videos on YouTube entitled “Spring break sucks when you’re lonely,” “My reaction to seeing a couple at the beach ... envy,” and “Retribution.” In the clips he said he was determined to punish women who had rejected him.
- Shortly after the 2014 murders, a 23-year-old University of Washington student, Keshav Mukund Bhide, was charged in federal court with making threatening comments over the internet, including pledging to kill women and praising Rodger.
- Reddit, which hosts online chatrooms and bulletin boards, banned a group with 40,000 members called r/Incels in November. It said the group had violated its policy that prohibits calls for violence. Some members had lauded Rodger as a hero of the incel movement.
- r/IncelsWithoutHate, a support group created a year ago, remains active on Reddit “for all the people ... who don’t feel the same hatred that is often expressed” in the r/Incels group.
- Reddit also hosts IncelTears, a watchdog group that exposes extremist incel views.
Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Cynthia Osterman