You may remember the case of a driver who used a van to plow into pedestrians on a busy street in Toronto on April 2018 and killed 10 and injured 16. A judge has lifted a publication ban on a four-hour interview that he gave after being arrested, where he says that he was inspired to start a revolution by online videos made by so-called ‘incels’, the term that involuntary celibates give themselves.
The attack traumatized Canada’s largest city, and cast a spotlight on the so-called “incel” online subculture of men united by sexual frustration and a hatred of women.
In a nearly four-hour interview after his arrest, Minassian told police officers that he was virgin who had never had a girlfriend, admitted to using the van as a weapon and said he wanted to inspire more attacks.
Asked how he felt about the death of 10 people, he replied: “I feel like I accomplished my mission.”
During the meandering discussion with Detective Rob Thomas, Minassian said he belonged to an online subculture of sexually frustated men, and described his path towards radicalization, saying he drew inspiration from other men who used violence as a form of retribution for “being unable to get laid”.
“I know of several other guys over the internet who feel the same way,” he said, adding they are “too cowardly to act on their anger”.
Clad in a white prison jumpsuit, Minassian told police that his interactions with women left him embarrassed and angry. He described a Halloween party in 2013, where he tried to speak with young women, but was often ignored or laughed at.
“I consider myself a supreme gentleman,” he said, adding: “I was angry that they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes.”
The group views their inability to meet women as punishment for their status as “beta-males” and direct their anger at the people with active sex lives who they derisively call “Chad” and “Stacey”.
Minassian claimed to have been in contact with Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself in a 2014 the campus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014. Rodger was a self-described incel who posted deeply misogynist videos and a sprawling online manifesto calling for an “overthrow” of what he said was feminist domination.
Minassian told police he was “radicalized” at around the time of Rodger’s attack – and began to fantasize about starting his own “rebellion”.
“I was thinking that I would inspire future masses to join me in my uprising as well,” he said.
That incident was also noted for the way that Ken Lam, the lone police officer on the scene, deescalated the conflict and refused to be drawn into shooting him even though Minassian wanted to die in a ‘suicide by cop’ and pretended to draw a gun on Lam several times, hoping to get killed. Lam gave a textbook example of how to de-escalate a situation. Watch.