Look Out for ‘Incel’ Behavior, Secret Service Warns in Report Calling Misogynistic Extremism a Rising Threat

Authorities respond to an instance of mass violence at a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, later dubbed an instance of escalating misogynistic extremism.
Authorities respond to an instance of mass violence at a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, later dubbed an instance of escalating misogynistic extremism.Getty

The term "incel," or "involuntarily celibate," refers to a community of men that feel unable to obtain a sexual relationship with a woman despite feeling entitled to one.

The Secret Service is calling the “incel” or “involuntarily celibate” movement the latest rising domestic threat, and is warning that the “gender-based ideology, sometimes referred to as ‘male supremacy,’” can escalate to mass violence if signs are ignored and proper interventions are not taken in time.

The new 26-page report on what the federal agency called misogynistic extremism highlights various concerning behaviors and patterns, and emphasizes the importance of what they called a behavioral threat assessment approach that empowers the public to identify the warning signs and intervene if necessary. 

“Hatred of women, and the gender-based violence that is associated with it, requires increased attention from everyone with a role in public safety,” the report read. “Regardless of whether an individual self-affixes a label to their extremist beliefs, such as ‘incel' or ‘anti-feminist,’ the individual’s behavior should remain the primary focus.”

It continued to explain that the public can be on the watch for concerning behaviors, including “desperation or despair, a need for belonging or connection with others, and a desire for attention or notoriety,” rather than focusing solely on whether or not they have misogynistic tendencies or identify as an “incel.”

At the center of the new 26-page report on misogynistic extremism is a case study of the Hot Yoga Tallahassee attacker Scott Paul Beierle, a 40-year-old male who open fired on a hot yoga studio, killing three women before taking his own life, and detailed the various concerning behaviors those closest to him identified and reported at various moments in his life. 

“A superficial look at [Beierle's] personal history reveals an individual who pursued higher education, served in the military, and held highly regarded professional positions of trust,” the report stated. “However, a more complete and multidisciplinary assessment reveals objectively concerning behavior that continued for decades.” 

In the case of the Hot Yoga Tallahassee attacker there had been a series of red flags in his life spanning back to childhood, the report stated, including an incident of bullying by girls at his school he called the origin of his misogyny and various reports of nonconsensual touching and stalking of classmates and coworkers.

Beierle also recorded various videos and wrote scripts, songs and stories in his teens and early 20s that authorities called “dark, violent and misogynistic,” including an 81-page story he penned while in high school about a middle school boy-turned-serial killer who preys on his female classmates due to their lack of respect for him. “The characters in the story represented [Beirele’s] actual classmates from school, though the names were slightly changed,” the report stated.

There had also been warning signs in Beierle's adulthood, including terminations from various jobs, official complaints from women he worked with in the U.S. army and at other jobs, and arrests for incidents of gropings. 

At one point, Beierle's family reported him after having suspected he carried out a series of sniper attacks, and at another, he was the center of a complaint by four female airmen in the U.S. Air Force and found to have “difficulty assimilating to the Army” before he was honorably discharged.

“In this case, [Beierle’s] misogynistic views and associated behavior resulted in him being fired from multiple jobs, being banned from public locations, and being arrested,” according to the report.

Bierele also had a documented obsession with serial killers and serial rapists, including Ted Bundy and Christopher Bernard Wilder, also known as the Beauty Queen Killer, the report stated.

Bierele briefly had an online relationship with a woman who regularly attended a hot yoga class in Tallahassee that ended after he sent her “unwanted sexual text messages and suggested that the woman become a stripper.” 

On the day of the shooting, before leaving his hotel with a firearm, he uploaded a song detailing his failed accomplishments in life and a note that read, “If I can’t find one decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with,” the report stated.

The Secret Service's report also identified several other cases of misogynistic extremism that led to mass violence, including the 2020 murder of Daniel Anderl, the son of US District Court Judge Esther Salas at the hands of a 72-year-old “men’s rights advocate,” and the 2014 murder of six people near University of California, Santa Barbara at the hands of a 22-year-old who previously expressed frustration over not being able to find a girlfriend while simultaneously being vocal about his hatred for women and interracial couples. 

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