Who is 'Chad' Bundy? Why The Incel Community Hates — And Celebrates — Ted Bundy

Reddit’s incel community can’t decide if America’s most infamous serial killer is one of them — or a “Chad.”

By Dorian Geiger
Ted Bundy

They hate women, they hate popular men, and now some of them hate one of America’s most notorious serial killers — and, oh yeah, also Zac Efron.

Last month, Netflix purchased "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," a biopic of the serial killer Ted Bundy starring Zac Efron, for $9 million.  (Joe Berlinger, who directed the film, also helmed the 2019 Netflix docuseries “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”) But since "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January, it’s been criticized for romanticizing a “hot serial killer.”

But amongst the chorus of cinefiles criticizing the biopic is a surprising demographic: Reddit’s incel community.

Short for “involuntarily celibate,” incels are entitled, lonely men who despise women for not having sex with them, and are part of a larger online community dubbed the “manosphere.”

Incited by the release of the docu-series and the upcoming wide release of the film, incels have stormed the subreddit to offer their own sexist takes on Bundy’s bloody legacy. Some incels praise him, others revile him. And they are definitely using the way women note Bundy's good looks as a pillar to support their misogynistic worldviews.

"Daily reminder that murdermaxxing is a proven way of getting girls to want you more,” wrote one user. “This is humanity."

Another reads: "Ever since I know the true nature of [women] and how they would literally suck a serial killer’s c--k. I cannot help but despise them. F--king savage animals. I will never marry, hire, or trust a woman ever."

But incels don’t just shun women. They also loathe handsome, charismatic, and popular men, whose good looks allow them to lead happy, satisfying lives. They call them “Chads.” Efron fits the description, but does Bundy? 

“Was the real Ted Bundy a Chad?” asked one commenter. 

 Scott Bonn, a criminologist and author of “Why We Love Serial Killers,” thinks so.  

“Bundy broadly fit[s] the incel community's sophomoric, one-dimensional, and self-serving definition of a ‘Chad,’" Bonn told Oxygen.com.

“However, Bundy's true motivations were much darker and far more sinister than that of a ‘Chad.’ Bundy was motivated by power and control — that is, the need to dominate his victim,” Bonn added.  

But Tim Squirrell, a dark web researcher and PhD candidate in science and technology studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, disagreed. 

“It's difficult to classify Ted Bundy as a 'Chad', because to do so necessarily buys into the incel conceptualization of the world as a place where your life outcomes are predetermined by your appearance,” Squirrell said to Oxygen.com.

“But to take it from the point of view of the incels, some of them say he was necessarily a 'Chad' because of his ability to 'charm' women before murdering them," he mused.

Others say that he was a 'Chad' at the time, but would be an incel today, because Tinder and other changes in dating have meant that the bar is much higher for what is considered "average" amongst men. 

To put it mildly, it's an odd dichotomy.

Netflix is scheduled to release “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” on May 3.

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