Article by  June 7, 2019

Scott Paul Beierle’s attack on a Florida yoga studio was fueled by male supremacy, a movement with ties to other hate groups.

TALLAHASSEE — The first thing Kate Pierson did after unlocking the yoga studio that November afternoon was set the mood, plugging in the soothing waterfall, selecting a cheery lemongrass oil for the scent diffuser. The thermostat was turned up to 98 for the 5:30 class.

Hot Yoga Tallahassee was styled as a calming haven for a mostly female clientele. The men who practiced there, Pierson said, were men at ease with the “light and love” mission of the place.

But the man who walked in about 5:15 that Friday was different. Pierson was still alone in the lobby when he entered, a big guy whose maroon Florida State University T-shirt was stretched over a paunchy belly, the wrapper still on the yoga mat under his arm. A black Planet Fitness bag was strapped across his chest. Inside, she would learn soon, was a Glock 9mm pistol.

The man wasn’t on the list of 11 students preregistered for the evening class, and he seemed disappointed so few were expected. Handing over a debit card for the $12 walk-in fee, he identified himself as “Scott . . . Paul,” hesitating between the two words.

His name was actually Scott Paul Beierle, a 40-year-old former FSU graduate student who had driven 250 miles for a yoga class in the town where he had twice been arrested for groping female students and banned from campus.

Beierle was an avowed hater of women, a man who repeatedly grabbed women in real life and fantasized about raping and killing them in the horrific collection of lyrics, poetry and novels he began writing as a teenager. His interactions with the opposite sex had gotten him fired from teaching jobs, booted from the Army and hauled before the principal of his high school. He traced his fury at women — “Just beneath their blushing lashes and their innocent smiles lies the most rancid and putrid, sickening essences” — to the girls who both aroused and frustrated him in eighth grade.

It is a kind of hatred that experts in extremism warn is becoming more common and more dangerous, providing what amounts to a new feeder network for white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups.

“More and more, we see misogyny as the gateway drug for extremists,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of more than 20 people interviewed to compile this account of Beierle’s history and the phenomenon it represents.

On that pleasant fall night in 2018, Beierle seemed uncertain at first, Pierson recalled. He paced the second-floor breezeway of the palm-lined shopping center as a few women began arriving in their yoga outfits. Once he came in to ask when the more crowded sessions were held — Saturday mornings were popular, Pierson told him — and then walked back out. “I thought he was skipping it after all,” she said.

The yoga class had already begun when Beierle finally entered the studio. The students were in “child’s pose” at the time, on their knees, noses to the floor, arms outstretched.

He was still wearing his street shoes, carrying the shrink-wrapped mat and bag. The teacher told him to store his stuff in a cubby outside the hot room.

“But I have a question,” he said, fumbling in his bag. He took out a set of earmuff hearing protectors and put them on. Then he pulled out the Glock.

For a moment he stood still, displaying the gun, according to one of the students who looked up to see him. A big man in a power pose of his own.

Then he pointed it at the woman closest to him.

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In 2018, a few months before Beierle stood in that studio, the Southern Poverty Law Center added a new category to its tracking list of hate movements around the country: male supremacy.

The term encompasses a worrying new array of assaults by men who view women as genetically inferior, inherently treacherous or unwilling to provide them with the sex and submission they see as their birthright.

It’s a trend with roots both ancient and new. Condemning women as a gender dates to at least the ancient Greek myth that blamed Pandora for unleashing evil into the world. But in the digital age, misogyny is being stoked within hundreds of online chat rooms and forums, echo chambers of grievance that drive some men to cyberbullying and a far smaller number to violence.

“What’s different today is the online space itself,” Beirich said. “Back in the day, an ad on how to meet girls in the back of a magazine didn’t open a door into the dark web.”

In a 2018 report, the Anti-Defamation League divided this “manosphere” into three overlapping tribes: “men’s rights activists,” who have channeled legitimate advocacy for equal treatment in divorce and custody disputes into a toxic male rage; “pick-up artists,” who have perverted those back-of-the-magazine schemes into a cult of predatory sexual entitlement; and “incels,” men who blame all women for their own involuntary celibacy.

All three groups espouse a generalized loathing for women and the shifting norms — from female empowerment to gay rights — that they blame for their many miseries. As the online communities swelled in the past five or six years, the rhetoric became more extreme.

“More and more, we see misogyny as the gateway drug for extremists.”

Heidi Beirich, Southern Poverty Law Center

“It went from ‘I got [screwed] in my divorce settlement’ to ‘Women are dogs, women should be raped,’ ” Beirich said.

The FBI began tracking hate crimes against women in 2013, though the agency’s statistics have long been plagued by major inconsistencies in the ways thousands of police departments around the country define and report hate crimes. In 2017, the most recent year available, the FBI tallied 24 attacks against women based on their gender — a tiny percentage of hate crimes overall.

But researchers say many incidents go unreported by police or by women themselves, and they expect more attacks in the future, spurred by the cross-pollination among aggrieved men and broader hate movements.

“A deep-seated loathing of women acts as a connective tissue between many white supremacists,” explained the ADL report, titled “When Women are the Enemy: The Intersection of Misogyny and White Supremacy.”

While old-guard white supremacists revered women as the mothers of the race, younger bigots despise them as just one more group responsible for eroding their status.

“Even if you become the ultimate alpha male, some stupid bitch will still ruin your life,” declared Andrew Anglin on the neo-Nazi website he founded, the Daily Stormer. Anglin has credited his site’s anti-women content with bolstering traffic even as other hate sites have seen a falloff.

“The hot ones all detest me, and I haven’t a clue why.”

Scott Paul Beierle in “Rejected Youth,” a novel he wrote in high school

“Incels are full of rage, and it is trivial to turn these guys into kike haters,” explained one of Anglin’s sidekicks, Andrew Auernheimer, known online as Weev, in a Daily Stormer post. “Few people have ever personally had their life harmed by a Jew (in a direct, personally observable sense), but every single breathing man has had it f—– up by multiple selfish, scheming hookers (likely starting with their own mothers).”

The ugly rhetoric can lead to violence. The 19-year-old nursing student alleged to have opened fire in a San Diego-area synagogue in April cited, among a litany of anti-Semitic conspiracies, the role of Jews in promoting feminism.

Incel adherents in particular — who dream of destroying the women they long for, derisively nicknamed “Stacys,” and the attractive men, “Chads,” who have better luck — have emerged as killers…

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