THE shocking murder of five people, including a three-year-old, in Plymouth last year shed light on a disturbing online trend among young men in the UK.
Killer Jake Davison, whose victims included his own mum, was a self-styled Incel – meaning involuntary celibate – and motivated by a deep hatred of women.
7Jake Davison murdered five people in a shooting spreeCredit: PA7Ben Zant with anonymous Incel DCredit: Channel 4While largely associated with the US, where it has inspired at least two mass murders, the Incel movement is gaining ground in the UK and a new Channel 4 documentary found that 2,500 of the 18,000 members on the most extreme forum were from Britain.
In The Secret Life of Incels, which airs tonight, presenter Benjamin Zant meets British Incels and discovers sickening content on their secret forums, including women being beheaded, tortured and beaten to death.
Ben also speaks to a ‘Femcel’ – the female equivalent – who watches gore movies and admits she has fantasised about killing someone.
He also discovers the growing trend of “Looksmaxxing” – using extreme methods to improve looks, including hitting yourself in the face with a hammer.
One man in his early 20s, known only as D in the film, tells Ben he has not spoken to any woman other than his mum since leaving school and says he spends all day on the computer, reading conspiracy theories and messages of hate on the forums.
He explains that Incels are “angry and frustrated young men” who have convinced themselves that they are unable to ever have sex and are “born inferior”.
Vile ‘Blackpill’ extremists
D explains killer Davison was a ‘Blackpill’ – the most extreme among Incels – who believe that only tall, athletic and perfect looking men, known as Chads, are attractive to women.
D says he has bought into this belief after getting sucked into “Inceldom” as a lonely teenager.
“It began with living in a place where it was difficult to make friends and have a social group,” says D. “I’ve spent 10,000 hours on the internet.
“If you have no mutual friends it’s almost impossible to meet anyone. I’m on benefits, not in employment work or training, so people look to the internet for answers.
“Why am I struggling to get women? Why do I have no friends? I tried to overdose at 12 and again at 15 and most of the people I know have also tried to take their own lives.”
Hammering face to alter looks
The documentary also explores the trend of “Looksmaxxing”, with Blackpill extremists promoting dangerous techniques to improve facial features.
One man, who posts videos online, says it is “not uncommon” for hardcore Incels to repeatedly tap cheekbones, chins, brows and orbitals with a hammer in a bizarre attempt to ‘sculpt’ their faces.
As well as an increase in numbers on the Incel forums, the language and videos have become increasingly violent in recent years.
On one forum, rape was mentioned every 29 minutes and posts about Incel mass murders have increased by 59 per cent in the last year.
Solomon Gilbert, who works with the National Crime Agency to uncover hate content on sites, told Benjamin that horrific real-life videos of women being killed were becoming alarmingly common.
“These guys live this day in, day out,” says Solomon. “When you watch videos of women being murdered you become the odd one out for having the sort of extreme personal reaction you should be feeling.”
7D is taken on a night out to meet women in the showCredit: All 47The Incel is nervous about chatting to girlsCredit: All 4Incredibly, an increasing number of women, known as Femcels, are adopting similar views and the presenter tracked down an Eastern European teenager who says she loves watching twisted content.
She confesses to watching torture and murder online, adding: “ I love gore, blood, guts and everything.”
As well as celebrating mass murder, some warped forums also encourage suicide, with the Centre for Countering Digital Hate telling the programme one site has been linked to dozens of death.
Virgins filled with hate
The disturbing content runs alongside disturbing hero worship of killers like Davison and Incel ‘saint’ Elliot Rodger, who killed six students and injured 14 in a gun attack at a Californian University in 2014, then killed himself.
Before the shooting he wrote a 137-page ‘manifesto’ and posted hundreds of YouTube videos detailing his involuntary celibacy and vowing revenge for being rejected by women.
In one, posted before the massacre, he said: “I will slaughter every single spoiled stuck up, blonde sl*t I see inside there. All those girls I’ve desired so much. They have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man.”
Seen as the founder of the movement, Rodger is frequently referenced by his initials, with posters calling him an “AmERican hERo” and talking about “doing an Elliot Rodger”.
7Elliot Rodger carried out a mass shooting at a Californian UniversityCredit: AP:Associated PressBefore the Plymouth shootings, Jake Davison had gained following on the extreme forum for his hate-filled messages.
In chilling online footage, shown in the documentary, he describes himself as “a male virgin, never been kissed, never GF at 22 soon 23, hate it.”
On August 12, 2021, Davison shot and killed his 51-year-old mum, Maxine, at his Plymouth home before going on a 15 minute rampage, killing three-year-old Sophie Martyn and dad Lee, 43, a 59-year-old man and a 66-woman, as well as injuring two more, before killing himself.
The moderator of the extreme forum, where Davison spewed his vile thoughts, told Benjamin some forum members would back his actions and he said social media firms were banning the wrong people from the sites.
“[Davison] expressed fascination with guns,” he says. “He was saying something about Incels being discriminated against. I have seen this in many communities, people trying to be the biggest Incels.
“They ban the most moderate Incels and leave the extremists. These people really have hatred for the world. They see the actions of people like Jake Davison as justice.”
7Sophie Martyn, three, and dad Lee were among Jake Davison’s victims7Floral tributes left at a park in Keyham, Plymouth, where Davison took five livesCredit: Getty
Dr Kaitlyn Regehr, Digital Humanities professor at University College London, says the hateful misinformation on Incel forums has now become so widespread it has contributed to a “more generalised misogyny”.
She added: “We need to be holding social media companies more accountable. Through large doses of this hateful content, violent content becomes normalised for young people. They hear it and see it again and again and it’s through these processes that it moves off screens and on to streets.”
The Secret Life of Incels is available on All4 from today
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk