Did Olivia Wilde Just Make Jordan Peterson Cry?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Jordan Peterson is apparently very sad that Olivia Wilde based the Don’t Worry Darling villain on him. So sad, in fact, that he was brought to tears during a recent interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored.

Earlier this month, while speaking about basing Chris Pine’s character, Frank, on Peterson, Wilde told Interview magazine, “We based that character on this insane man, Jordan Peterson, who is this pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community.” Wilde defined incels to Interview as “disenfranchised, mostly white men, who believe they are entitled to sex from women.”

At the time of Wilde’s interview, Peterson responded with a statement in the National Post, joking that Pine “has a reputation as quite an attractive man,” noting that it “could be worse.” He also called the film “the latest bit of propaganda disseminated by the woke, self-righteous bores and bullies who now dominate Hollywood.” But when Morgan read the quote to Peterson this week, it seemed to hit a nerve.

“People have been after me for a long time because I’ve been speaking to disaffected young men,” Peterson, who once threatened to sue a woman who called him a misogynist, said. “Now, what a terrible thing to do — that is, talk to marginalized [people] who are supposed to have a voice.” He then got emotional and began to tear up. “It’s very difficult to understand how demoralized people are. And certainly many young men are in that category,” he continued. “And you get these casual insults. These ‘incels.’ Well, what does this mean?”

For the record, incel is a term that originated from the phrase involuntary celibacy. It was, according to the Guardian, coined by a woman before it was co-opted by men online who used the term to create a violent movement. In 2014, Elliot Rodger killed six people in the UCSB college town of Isla Vista. He identified with the term, calling himself an incel in his manifesto. Four years later, in 2018, Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, killing ten people. In a social-media post minutes before the attack, he reportedly praised Rodger and celebrated the start of the “Incel Rebellion.” And in that time, incel became a proud identity for men online, some of whom worshipped Rodger and Minassian.

Incel communities are often linked to misogyny online and sometimes acts of violence. But Peterson doesn’t see it that way. “These men, they don’t know how to make themselves attractive to women who are very picky, and good for them,” he told Morgan. “But all these men who are alienated, it’s like they’re lonesome, and they don’t know what to do, and everyone piles abuse on them.”

It’s not the first time Peterson has appeared more concerned with the supposed abuse directed at “alienated” men than the violence they instigate. At the time of Minassian’s attack, Peterson seemed to sympathize with the killer, telling the New York Times, “He was angry at God because women were rejecting him. The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.” Doesn’t seem far off from Wilde’s definition of incel, if you ask me.

Did Olivia Wilde Just Make Jordan Peterson Cry?