The Red Pill is a metaphorical term used to describe the epiphany of the unpleasant truth of reality in a wide range of contexts. Originally introduced as a crucial plot device in the 1999 science fiction film The Matrix, the term has gained widespread usage online among conspiracy theorists and other advocates of minority views in defense of their radical beliefs and proselytism of new adherents. Conversely, the term "blue pill" is used to describe the act of choosing blissful ignorance over the harsh truth.
The science-fictional concepts of the "red pill" and the "blue pill" originate from the 1999 science fiction film The Matrix, wherein the main protagonist Neo (portrayed by Keanu Reeves) is offered to take either a blue-colored pill or a red-colored pill, the former of which would allow him to remain in the simulated universe within "The Matrix" and enjoy the comforts of life in ignorance, while the latter would lead him to escape from the fabricated reality into the physical realm that is harsher and more challenging in nature.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when go to church or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. (long pause, sighs) Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. (In his left hand, Morpheus shows a blue pill.)
Morpheus: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. (a red pill is shown in his other hand) You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. (Long pause; Neo begins to reach for the red pill) Remember -- all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.
(Neo takes the red pill and swallows it with a glass of water)
- On October 29th, 2004, Urban Dictionary user Ironuckles submitted an entry for "Red Pill," describing the term as "a popular phrase among cyberculture and signifies a free-thinking attitude, and a waking up from a "normal" life of sloth and ignorance." As of March 2016, the entry remains the most upvoted definition of the term.
- In November 2005, Greg Taylor launched The Red Pill, an alternative Wikipedia project designed to "catalogue all of those things on the stranger side of reality," including many topics that had been rejected by Wikipedia due to their fringe subject matters.
- On June 11th, 2006, the Social Science Research Council ran an article titled "The Red Pill" by University of Colorado's sociology professor Kathleen Tierney. In the article, Tierney draws a comparison between taking the "red pill" and recognizing that the Bush administration's post 9/11 policies haven't made the nation safer, and particularly in the context of emergency response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.
- On August 3rd, 2006, Polish computer scientist Joanna Rutkowska unveiled the "Blue Pill" rootkit, a special type of software that utilizes techniques of modern CPUs to render a virtual platform on which the entire operating system (OS) runs, as well as "Red Pill" techniques that allows the OS to detect the presence of such virtual platform.
Men's Rights Movement
Sometime between the late 2000s and early 2010s, the term "red pill" became prominently adopted by advocates of the men's rights movement and subscribers of the manosphere as a metaphor for the supposed epiphany of gender inequiality against men, or beliefs that contemporary social values and gender role expetations are intended to benefit women more than men. On October 25th, 2012, Redditor RedPillSchool launched the subreddit TheRedPill, which has accrued nearly 144,000 subscribers, as of March 2016.
On October 12th, 2015, filmmaker Cassie Jaye launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund a documentary titled The Red Pill: A feminist's journey into the Men's Rights Movement. By November 11th, the campaign raised more than $211,000 of its $97,000 goal. On October 7th, 2016, the film premiered at the Cinema Village in New York City, New York. In the film, Jaye interviews both feminists and men's rights activists (MRAs) in her investigation of MRAs as a hate movement. Through the course of the film, Jaye begins to question her feminist beliefs and judgement of the men's rights movement.
The film was hotly debated, with journalist Cathy Young reviewing it favorably and praising its critiques of modern feminism, while Alan Scherstuhl of the Houston Press referred to Jaye as a "propagandist" and the film as "amateurish". Additionally, several screenings of the film were canceled due to activist pressure in various locations around the world, including Melbourne, Australia and Ottawa, Canada. On May 6th, 2017, Jaye tweeted a letter stating that Netflix had declined including The Red Pill in their film catalog for unspecified reasons (shown below).
New Hampshire Representative Robert Fisher
On April 25th, 2017, The Daily Beast reported that an investigation into the /r/RedPill's creator had returned that Republican New Hampshire state representative Robert Fisher founded the subreddit. Investigators cross referenced posts by /r/RedPill founder Pk_atheist with the founder's old blog "Dating American," which contains references to two other blogs: "Existential Vortex" and "Explain God." When performing a unique search of "existential vortex," investigators arrived on an ex-Christian message board where user alias "Interested" advertised the "Existential Vortex" blog." The article states: "This post, written under the alias 'Interested,' provided the keystone that connected Pk_atheist and Robert Fisher. First, the post revealed the user was the author of Existential Vortex (and thus, Dating American). Second, in the user’s bio, he stated his band--The Five Nines--had a new album out. Robert Fisher is the sole member of his band, The Five Nines."
The article continues:
Following its thread leads to one identity after another, dating back to high school, when Fisher, a programmer, created a message board used by his friends as a social platform. The website’s name, “Fredrickville,” appears over and over, and provides more links between him and The Red Pill--Fisher’s personal email account uses the name, the same email addresss used to register The Red Pill’s backup landing page, should it ever get taken down. In addition, Fisher’s customized Facebook URL, revealed in a comment on Fredrickville.com, uses the name Facebook.com/Fredrickville. That personalized link formerly led to Fisher’s personal Facebook page, which has recently been deleted. Fisher’s customized URL for his band’s SoundCloud also uses the name.
Fisher has denied connections to /r/RedPill and claimed to not know what it was. However, within hours of contacting Fisher, The Daily Beast report that the two primary Reddit usernames and the four blogs connected to him had been deleted.
 Business Insider – Inside Red Pill, The Weird New Cult For Men Who Don't Understand Women