CBC True Crime presents the 5-episode series, “Boys Like Me,” examining how socially-isolated men can get swept into dangerous online worlds of nihilism, become radicalized, and turn into misogynists. This podcast focuses on the story of Alek, a Toronto man who drove a van down a sidewalk in 2018, killed 11, and injured many. This man had ties to the “incel” movement, an online world fueled by misogyny, isolation, and rejection.
After the attack, Evan Mead realized his former classmate was the perpetrator. Evan and Alek met in their high school’s special needs classes and considered themselves outcasts. “Boys Like Me” speaks with Evan and tries to make sense of how two young men with similar backgrounds wound up leading drastically different lives. Evan became an autism advocate and filmmaker while Alek committed mass-killings.
Hosted by Ellen Chloe Bateman, start this series from episode 1 to hear the story from the beginning. All episodes clock in under 45 minutes, making this a bingeable series you can finish in a day.
By the 2nd episode, we learn that Alek lived on the fringe of social acceptance and retreated further into isolation. He visited incel websites for years and spent time on forums that advocated for the kind of attack he’d eventually commit. In episode 3, we hear why men are drawn to this world, and Ellen connected with an incel to learn more. Ellen spoke to a former Jihadi recruiter in episode 4 to learn about the path one takes from radicalization to terrorism.
By the last episode, Ellen interviewed a woman going undercover in online male supremacist communities like mens’ rights activists and pickup artists. Ellen learns that these groups generate harassment campaigns, advocate violence against women, and recruit young men. No one is really talking about this, and it’s tricky to stop.
All episodes of “Boys Like Me” are now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.