Newly released video footage of a police interview with Alek Minassian, the suspect in the 2018 Toronto van attack, sheds light on how he became an incel, a term used to describe an “involuntary celibate” male, as well as how he was subject to a slow radicalization process that ultimately led him to kill 10 people.
In a four-hour interview after his arrest, the transcript of which was unsealed by a judge and released on Friday, Minassian admitted that the attack had been motivated in large part by his resentment toward “Chads” and “Staceys,” incel terminology for conventionally attractive men and women, respectively. He said that he was a virgin and that he resented women for having sexually rejected him in favor of “giv[ing] their love and affection to obnoxious brutes.”
Minassian also told police that he intended the attack to serve as a call to arms for a “beta uprising,” meaning that he hoped to encourage other disaffected young men (or “betas”) to commit acts of violence. “I was thinking that I would inspire future masses to join me,” he said during the interview.
Shortly the April 2018 attack, it was reported, though not confirmed, that Minassian was part of the incel community, a term used to describe a group of angry, radicalized young men who believe they have been unfairly deprived of sex by women. In many incel forums on sites like 4chan, violence is a pervasive undercurrent of discussion, with many incels fantasizing about taking revenge on the women who have rejected them. Minassian said in the interview that the goal of the community is to “overthrow the Chads — which would force the Staceys to be forced to reproduce with the incels.”
During the police interview, Minassian said that he frequented forums like 4chan and subreddits like r/ForeverAlone, which has an incel presence even though it does not directly advertise itself as such and prohibits “incel speak or references” in its list of rules. During his police interview, he stated that the process of his radicalization began in Halloween 2013, when he was rejected by a group of young women at a party. “They all laughed at me and held the arms of the big guys instead. I felt angry they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes,” he said.
The transcript also revealed that while posting on incel forums, Minassian had corresponded with Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old man who killed six people in an attack in Isla Vista, CA before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Rodger was also a member of the incel community and outlined his resentment toward women in a manifesto recovered by authorities after the attack. Rodger has since been canonized by many extremists, and is often referred to as the patron saint of incels.
Though it has not yet been confirmed by police that Minassian corresponded with Rodger prior to the attack, Minassian claimed during the police interview that Rodger had shared with him plans of the Isla Vista attack, with Minassian wishing him luck beforehand. During the police interview, he also echoed much of the language used by Rodger in his manifesto and on videos he posted on his YouTube channel prior to the attack, referring to himself as “a supreme gentleman,” a sobriquet Rodger used to describe himself.
Toward the end of the police interview, Detective Rob Thomas asked Minassian how he felt after the attack that killed 10 people. “I feel like I accomplished my mission,” he said. When asked what he would say to the families of the victims, Minassian said, “I honestly don’t know.”
Minassian faces 10 first-degree murder charges and 16 attempted murder charges. He will stand trial in February.