Toronto van attack sparks conversation about ‘Incel Rebellion’

Sreedha Varanasi
By Sreedha Varanasi April 28, 2018 13:34

Toronto van attack sparks conversation about ‘Incel Rebellion’

The alleged Toronto van attack perpetrator made a post before the attack that has sparked debate about his possible motivations.

“The Incel Rebellion has already begun,” posted Alek Minassian.

Incel is apparently short for involuntarily celibate. According to, a website for people who identify themselves as incels, an incel is someone who “is not in a relationship nor has had sex in a significant amount of time, despite numerous attempts.”

According to the website, there are sub-categories of incels, including truecel, someone “who hasn’t ever had sex or been in a relationship, despite numerous attempts,” and mentalcel, someone “whose reason for failure in relationships/sex is related to mental illness or major insecurities.”

It’s not clear what kind of incel Minassian may identify with, but he hailed Elliot Rodger, a man who killed six people in California in 2014. Rodger made a YouTube video detailing his reasoning behind the attack saying he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and wanted to punish sexually active people.

Some of the self-identified “incels” on the website believe violence is the way to deal with “normies.”

One person indicated bullying and teasing kids in school can lead to adult incels with a propensity for violence.

“ This is why I feel no sympathy for normies and why I rejoice when there are mass shootings.”


Screenshot taken from


Windsor-based psychologist William Ross said he had never heard of the incel movement, but in these cases, one incident or violent comment like the one above can easily influence someone else.

“My concern would be there are places for these types of individuals to communicate with one another, they sometimes trigger a response,” said Ross.

Ross said these threats need to be taken seriously, but that many times they are born out of frustration and don’t lead to violence.

Sreedha Varanasi
By Sreedha Varanasi April 28, 2018 13:34

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