Secret Service report details growing threat of "incel" terrorism

The Secret Service found some crossover between violent incels and white supremacists

By Jon Skolnik

Published March 15, 2022 5:26PM (EDT)

Tallahassee Police officers are stationed outside the HotYoga Studio after a gunman killed one person and injured several others inside on November 2, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Tallahassee Police officers are stationed outside the HotYoga Studio after a gunman killed one person and injured several others inside on November 2, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

A new Secret Service report highlights a concerning rise in terrorism threats posed by men who called themselves "involuntary celibate," often refered to as "incels."

The 26-page report, released on Tuesday by the Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), documents a sharp uptick in incel-fueled attacks against women over the past decade. 

"The term 'incel' is often used to describe men who feel unable to obtain romantic or sexual relationships with women, to which they feel entitled," the report notes.

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Researchers put a particular emphasis on the case of Scott Beierle, 40, who in 2018 shoot several women at a Florida yoga studio. According to the report, Beierle had a long history of warning signs leading up to the shooting. CBS reports that he'd previously been fired from several teaching jobs, and banned from numerous restaurants and apartment buildings.


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"During his teen years, the attacker was accused of stalking his classmates, and he wrote stories that centered around violent themes," said Steve Driscoll, lead research specialist at NTAC, on Thursday. "One of those stories was 81 pages long and involved the protagonist murdering several girls before committing suicide. The female characters in the story that were killed, represented the attacker's actual classmates from his high school, but he slightly changed the names in his writing." 

Beierle had also been arrested for groping women and was known as Ted Bundy amongst his close friends. 

The day before his shooting, Beierle left a note that said the following: "If I can't find one decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with."

"The Hot Yoga Tallahassee attacker was motivated to carry out violence by his inability to develop or maintain relationships with women, along with his perception of women's societal power over men," Driscoll said. 

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Stories like Beierle's have abounded over the last decade. 

In 2014, 22-year old Elliot Rodger – who has been hailed by his followers as an "incel hero" – opened fire on dozens of UCSB students in Isla Vista, California, killing six people and injuring fourteen others with gunshots, stabwounds, and a vehicular attack. 

After the incident, reports shortly revealed that, in carrying out the mass killing, Rodger had intended to punish women for not sleeping with him. Rodger extensively documented his struggles in a 107,000-word manifesto, wherein he describes sexually active men and women as "Chads" and Stacy," according to The Los Angeles Times.   

Lina Alathari, the chief of the National Threat Assessment Center, told CNN that there is often "crossover between misogynistic views and White supremacy."

"The body of research examining misogyny as an extreme ideology and incels specifically, as well as its intersection with other ideologies like White supremacy, as a field of research, is growing,' she added.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Gun Violence Incel Misogny Secret Service Terrorism Violence Against Women White Supremacy