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First Misogynist Incel Sentenced on Federal Hate Crime Charges

On Thursday Tres Genco was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison followed by five years on post-prison supervision for his 2020 plot to “slaughter” women at an Ohio university.

According to court documents, Genco wrote in his manifesto that his goal was, “the death of what I have been deprived of most, but also cherished and fantasize at the opportunity of having but has been neglected of; Women. I will slaughter out of hatred, jealousy, and revenge.”

In October 2022 he pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to commit a hate crime, which came with a sentence of up to life in prison because it involved an attempt to kill. He previously served a 17-month sentence for state charges of making a terrorist threat.

Genco is the first misogynist incel to be charged under federal hate crime statutes, setting a new precedent for gender-based hate crimes.

Male supremacy is a hateful ideology rooted in the belief of the supposed innate superiority of men and their right to subjugate women, trans men and non-binary people. The term incel is a shorthand for “involuntary celibate,” a term that was originally coined to refer to anyone who had trouble finding fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships.

Misogynist incels appropriated the term to suit their specific worldview, that they are entitled to sex with attractive women, but society has denied them this right. Despite their fixation on sex, misogynist incels are more focused on their hatred for women and fantasies of violent control than they are in forming meaningful romantic or sexual relationships.

This community glorifies adherents who go on to commit mass killings, particularly Elliot Rodger, whose 2014 attack became known as the first incel attack. Rodger’s 140-page manifesto and dozens of YouTube videos helped formalize the misogynist worldview and identity. Even a decade later, misogynist incels celebrate him as the "patron saint" of their movement. Since his attack, more than 100 people have been killed or injured in the name of this extremist ideology and experts have documented at least 34 incidents of incel violence and plots, including terrorist attacks, murder, bombing plots, harassment and assault.

Plot and Arrest

Court documents revealed how heavily influenced Genco was by Rodger’s manifesto and violence. Genco was active on the most popular misogynist incel forum, posting hundreds of times before his arrest. In one post he described how he replicated an assault Rodger described in his manifesto in which he filled a water gun with orange juice and drove around spraying women and couples. Genco wrote that he felt "spiritually connected" to Rodger, who he considered a "saint."

Over several months, Genco planned and prepared for his attack, which he intended to commit on the anniversary of Rodger’s 2014 killing spree. This included assembling a collection of weapons and tactical gear and conducting surveillance at his targeted location.

Genco also joined the military to gain weapons training. According to court documents, Genco was planning his attack when he attended Army Basic Training in Georgia in August 2019. He had already started his search for sororities in his area, and in a manifesto entitled "A Hideous Symphany," he explained his hope that his military training would make him a more effective killer. Genco was discharged several months later for “entry-level performance or conduct.”

Though Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin launched an initiative to tackle the issue of extremism in the military after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection — in which a disproportionate number of people who were former and active military participated — the government has made little progress. A recent USA Today report shows that military personnel still have trouble identifying extremist activity, while 36% of Army personnel do not know where to report extremist activity.

After returning to Ohio, Genco continued to work out logistics for his planned attack, according to court records. He searched "planning a shooting crime" online and researched how to modify and assemble weapons. He detailed his hatred for women as the motivation for his violence across hundreds of posts on a popular incel forum as well as in his manifestos and notes law enforcement found. In one note he indicated that he hoped his experience at boot camp would help him kill up to 3,000 people.

While Genco was on an ATF watch list, local police thwarted his plot for mass violence in March 2020. Law enforcement responded to a call after Genco barricaded himself in a room with a gun following a fight with his mother where he allegedly threatened her, according to a police report. She also told police that he had become increasingly aggressive. After searching his car and room, police found multiple firearms, body armor, loaded magazines and boxes of ammunition in addition to writings that indicated Genco’s plan for a mass shooting.

The Way Forward

Tres Genco’s conviction comes at a time when law enforcement agencies reporting hate crime data to the FBI have dropped to the lowest level since 2012. Genco acted alone, but his radicalization was facilitated by a community of thousands who share his hostile views and glorification of violence.

His belief system did not develop in isolation. Dr. Molly Dragiewicz, an internationally award-winning criminologist known for her research on violence against women, told Hatewatch that while misogynist incels are often framed as a new phenomenon, they a continuation of “anti-feminist men’s groups” who work to “justify, excuse, deny and minimize men’s violence against women. Key to violence prevention is recognizing that the ways incels and domestic violence perpetrators’ accounts link to mainstream patriarchal gender norms and narratives.”

Tres Genco’s radicalization, the popularity of male supremacist influencers like Andrew Tate, the hidden epidemic of gender-based violence and legislative attacks on gender affirming care and reproductive rights are all rooted in a male supremacist worldview. Alex DiBranco, the founder and executive director at the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, told Hatewatch her organization recommends, "reorienting thinking on ‘countering violent extremism’ to early interventions at the K-12 level, such as comprehensive sexuality education, that broadly support humanization of others, value consent and challenge entitlement."

DiBranco said, "There is a strong need for funding to support research and strategy to address male supremacism that is informed by an intersectional feminist approach, oriented toward long-term cultural change, and that situates misogynistic violence as one manifestation of gender-based violence and male supremacist ideology."

Above photo: This undated photo provided by Miami Valley Jails shows Tres Genco, of Hillsboro, Ohio, who entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, to a federal charge of attempting a hate crime. (Miami Valley Jails via AP)

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