Brett Kavanaugh’s fate as a Justice on the Supreme Court hangs in the balance following a highly contentious day of hearings Thursday with him and the woman who accused him of sexual assault.
But even as he waits for a final verdict from members of the U.S. Senate, Kavanaugh has seen his stature rise elsewhere. The federal judge has become a hero to the sexually frustrated, misogynist “incel” community, after he claimed that he remained a virgin for years after graduating from high school.
Incels is a shortening of the phrase “involuntarily celibate.” It is a group of sexually frustrated men who gather in internet forums to complain about their lack of social status and the women they blame for it. And in various internet forums over the past few days, they’ve expressed interest in Kavanaugh after he claimed, in a Fox News interview Monday, that he never had sex in high school or for years after. Kavanaugh did so to dispute accusations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that he had sexually assaulted her during the summer of 1982.
“I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter,” Kavanaugh said.
In response to that line, incel forums lit up with discussion of the Supreme Court nominee, with one user saying they now saw Kavanaugh as one of them. David Futtrelle, a writer who tracks right-wing internet groups like incels, noted on his blog that the Fox News interview appeared to have earned Kavanaugh “some enthusiastic new fans.”
“Kavanaugh being an incel once makes me him more lol,” wrote one poster in an incel forum.
Another poster wrote that Kavanaugh’s claim about his virginity boosted his support for the nominee “to 110%,” while one user on a Reddit forum devoted to incels said that Kavanaugh had inspired a new kind of incel, “Kavanaughcels.”
But not everyone was so bullish. Other users claimed that Kavanaugh’s claims about his virginity would doom his nomination.
“He doesn’t realize that the only thing women and normies hate more than rapists, it’s incels,” one user wrote. “He’s done.”
Incels, who often write about their support for sexual violence against women, seemed unbothered by Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh. A Canadian man accused of killing ten people in Toronto with a van wrote on Facebook about an “incel rebellion” before the incident, while other incels venerate Elliot Rodger, who wrote an angry manifesto about women before going on a 2014 shooting rampage.
But Kavanaugh hasn’t won over every incel. While most of their anger tends to be aimed at women, the group also reviles socially successful men, a group they’ve dubbed “Chads” after a stereotype of a high school jock and bully. Kavanaugh frequently mentioned working out and his private high school’s football team during his Senate testimony, taking him perilously close to the jockish “Chad” stereotype, an idea that angered some incels. On incel forums, Kavanaugh is frequently referred to as a “Chad-lite.”
“Strikes me as 100% uberchad,” wrote one user.