Co Down 'incel' found love after posting online videos
A Co Down man who became associated with the "incel" community is working to distance himself from the group after finding love in an unlikely place.
James from Co Down features in a new BBC Three documentary "Inside The Secret World of Incels".
Incel stands for "involuntary celibate" and represents an online subculture of men who have grown frustrated by their inability to find a romantic partner.
The group rose to prominence after Elliot Rodger, who self-identified as an incel, killed six people before killing himself in California in 2014.
Writings left behind by Rodger said he wanted revenge for being rejected by women.
James, now 31, explained that he became attracted by the incel community after withdrawing in his teens.
“I didn’t interact with anybody, I kept the problems hidden,” he said.
“I would just go home and watch porn, because I couldn’t be bothered with it all. I thought, there’s no way I’m gonna get a girlfriend looking like this anyway, so I hid away in my room, which made things a million times worse.
"When I was younger I did feel entitled. My childhood wasn’t the best, and I went around with a chip on my shoulder, that the world owed me something. But it didn’t - your life’s your own responsibility.”
James began to post vlogs on YouTube about his experiences and became associated with the incel community, although he denies being a member.
“I didn’t see any hope, I was in a dead-end job, didn’t have a relationship, didn’t have many friends. You can get stuck in that echo chamber," he said.
In one video he performed a rap inspired by Elliot Rodger.
“Riding through the city like Elliot Rodger, can’t stop me now b****, you ain’t no bullet dodger," he said.
“I was trying to rhyme that for edgy shock value, I was trying to be creative.”
The Co Down man said that he considered suicide at his lowest ebb.
One of his videos entitled "31 Year old Forever Alone Virgin" attracted over a million views on the popular video-sharing website.
James' video received a lengthy response from a woman in Italy named Sara which led to further online communication between the two.
“She told me a lot about herself, we started voice chatting, video chatting, and it progressed from there,” he said.
James flew to Italy in May to meet Sara and the pair are now in a relationship.
He said that finding love had showed him how wrong the incel viewpoint is.
“You shouldn’t be thinking it’s all women’s fault, society’s fault,” he said.
“It’s up to you to make something out of your life. Get out of the house. If you have friends, phone them up. Your passions are your most important thing: invest time in them, not in negative thoughts – or negative forums.
“There’s always someone out there for you. I found someone by putting myself out there. I’m certainly in a better place. Not perfect, I’m still working through my problems, but I have a lot fewer anxiety issues than I used to.
“But it’s up to each person, at the end of the day, you can’t force them to do anything. You can try and help, but it’s really hard.”
"The Secret World of Incels" is available to view on iPlayer here.
Belfast Telegraph Digital