What Is Incel? Alek Minassian Cited a Reddit-Banned Group on Facebook

Minassian is charged with killing ten people in Toronto in a van attack.

Alek Minassian, the man charged with killing ten and injuring 15 during a Monday van attack in Toronto, wrote a Facebook post the same day that referenced a men’s rights community with a history of advocating for rape and violence against women.

Global News reporter Catherine McDonald posted a screenshot of the Facebook post on Twitter late Monday. The post was later verified by Facebook as belonging to Minassian’s account.

“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161,” it reads. “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

What is Incel?

There is a lot to unpack in his post, but the first thing is incel. The term is shorthand for involuntary celibate, and it’s a moniker used by a subsection of men’s rights activists that blame women and alpha males for their inability to have sex. The group’s subreddit, r/Incel, which Business Insider claims had around 40,000 members, was shut down by Reddit in November of 2017. The move came after Reddit updated its content policies, prompting a wave of bans on communities that incited hate speech or violence.

The subreddit served as one of several online spaces for self-described incels to mope about not being liked by women, and the forum apparently often veered into territory that was aggressive and misogynistic enough to merit being banned. According to Business Insider, the subreddit also often praised Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six people and wounded 14 near the University of California in 2014. Rodger’s killing spree ended with him turning the gun on himself, but he left behind a 107,000-word manifesto detailing his inability to lose his virginity because of the “cruelness of women.” R/incel often referred to Rodger as “Saint Elliot.”

There is still an incel subreddit on Reddit, called r/braincels, which doesn’t explicitly advocate for violence but remains problematic in terms of the language it expresses about women.

A sample of the kind of content on r/braincels, posted by EvilBananaManRD.


“Chads” and “Stacys” are 4chan-bred terms; the former is used to refer to attractive, normative, popular men who are good at attracting women for sex, while the latter refers to the female counterpart of one of these men.

Police haven’t released a motive in Monday’s attack, which saw Minassian, 25, drive a van onto a crowded sidewalk at a busy intersection. Minassian is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

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