Photo Credit: The New York Times
Written by: Katie Howe
Prior to his arrest, Tate was known for spewing violent & hateful comments online and drip feeding his misogynistic views on social media sites. Many domestic abuse charities cited their concerns over Tate’s comments, saying that they are capable of radicalizing men and young boys to commit harm offline.
So the question on everyone’s lips is, why did it take so long for Andrew Tate to be charged and how has his controversial online presence contributed to society’s views on violence against women?
Who is Andrew Tate?
Andrew Tate began turning heads as a professional kickboxer, winning world titles in two different weight divisions by 2007. In 2011, he joined Twitter for the first time. Tate and his brother, Tristan Tate, then began a business “webcam pimping,” which was later self-described as a scam that forced women to lie to customers and make money off of them.
Tate’s public image took a turn for the worse after he was kicked off the 2016 UK season of Big Brother after a video of him beating a woman with a belt was leaked. Tate claimed this was consensual and they were just “having a laugh.” At a point in the video, he threatens to “f**cking kill her” if she messages other men. Shortly after the video was leaked, Tate was asked to leave the Big Brother house.
In 2017, the Tate brothers moved from London to Romania, supposedly so they could surround their house with armed guards, which was not allowed in the UK. However, a deleted video hinted that another reason they moved to Romania was their “more relaxed sexual assault laws.” “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free,” Tate reportedly said in the video.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Tate felt inclined to use Twitter to voice his opinions on what is and is not considered sexual assault, as well as calling women out to “bear some of the responsibility” of being raped. Tate’s twitter page contained a plethora of homophobic and racial slurs, he claimed that depression “isn’t real” and after posting his radical views on sexual assault, Tate was finally banned from Twitter.
Tate gained traction once again in 2022 through sharing his controversial opinions on TikTok. He started another “business” called “Hustlers University.” This business was advertised as “a masterclass in cryptocurrency, e-commerce and stock trading.” The image of Hustlers University was one of luxury toys, shiny jewelry and creating a persona that was “highly desirable” to women. Many critics declared the business a pyramid scheme, and it was shut down in August 2022.
Users of Hustlers University were encouraged to share Tate’s TikTok content to gain membership and earn commission. His content consisted of self-promotion and dehumanizing comments toward women.
After eventually being banned from TikTok, many of Tate’s videos re-surfaced through different accounts reposting his content, ultimately bringing more views and attention to Tate. TikTok’s terms clearly state that all accounts that “impersonate” someone else by using their picture or name in a “misleading manner” would be banned. Tate was also banned from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
However, after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in October 2022, Tate regained access to the platform after Musk posted about “free speech”. As the world’s richest man, Elon Musk yields an astonishing amount of power and now owns one of the largest social media platforms in the world. As he returned to the platform, Musk opened the door for Tate to continue sharing his dangerous thoughts and damaging actions.
However, his return to Twitter was the very cause of his demise. Tate became involved in a public online dispute with 20-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, which resulted in the exposure of his location in Romania and ultimately his arrest.
Why does this matter?
Tate’s entire online presence surrounds male dominance, female submission, and the pursuit of wealth. Despite the above-mentioned allegations and charges, there is still a group of men that remain loyal to Tate and his preachings, and we can’t help but wonder, what is so attractive about Tate and his toxic masculinity?
Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, attributed the Tate obsession to the propaganda surrounding his lavish lifestyle. Tate portrays himself as an “alpha male,” dedicated to breaking out of the “Matrix” through online side hustles (webcam scams, Hustle University, etc). By breaking out, he claims, he has been able to reach financial independence that allows him to fund his high-end lifestyle. If he did it, you can too, and he’ll show you how, if you purchase his online program.
However, as amazing as this all may seem, his message is woven with violent and misogynistic ideas that seep into viewers’ minds just as easily as the fancy cars. By portraying this lifestyle, Tate tells viewers, especially young men, “that the only ‘acceptable’ emotions for them to experience and express are anger and violence, and that only through some kind of dominance can they be truly masculine,” according to Katrina Handford, head of a mixed boarding school and member of the End of Sexism in Schools campaign.
Tate’s message implies that certain emotions are signs of weakness. Basically, in order to reach financial, social, and physical success as a male, you cannot emit any emotions deemed “feminine,” such as anxiety, indecisiveness, sadness, and more. According to Tate, acknowledging these emotions deem you incapable of making real money, attracting women and escaping the Matrix.
Needless to say, this message is extremely damaging for impressionable, young boys. According to CNN, “school teachers from across the world have reported the growing prevalence of misogynistic views among teenage boys who are fans of Tate’s content.” Before it was banned in 2022, Tate’s TikTok had around 11.6 billion views. However, the group “Hope Not Hate” has worked to reverse Tate’s work by advising teenagers not to fall for his “misogynist, homophobic and racist content” disguised as luxury.
With a scope as wide as Tate’s, he has been able to normalize these views, not only for young boys, but for girls as well. The normalization of such misogynistic views make it harder for women and girls to push back against this treatment.
What can we do?
Hope Not Hate are not the only ones calling out this toxic masculinity “trend.” Hira Ali, author of HER ALLIES: A Practical Toolkit to Help Men Lead Through Advocacy, explains why “bro code” and/or the “bystander effect” prevents men from calling each other out on their misogynistic comments. Even if a man finds a friend’s comment inappropriate, he may refrain from addressing it in fear of retaliation, such as losing social acceptance or friendships. There are good men out there, but sometimes bro code prevents us from seeing them.
Mark Greene, an author at The Good Men Project, advises men to call their peers “in” to have a conversation about their misogynistic comments, instead of calling them “out,” which can come off as harsh. Good friends push each other to be better; they don’t sit back and watch their friends fall down into the deep, dark hole of misogyny.
Another way we as a society can prevent the normalization of misogyny and toxic masculinity is improving how and when we educate children on sex, consent, and relationships, according to Shasha Mistlin for The Guardian. Sex education varies in each classroom, but having teachers and parents dedicated to properly and proactively educating their children on these topics can help prevent children from falling victim to propaganda such as Tate’s.
The Tate brothers, along with two Romanian women, were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group. Tate later won his appeal to be held on house arrest, instead of detention in jail. However, as of June 20th, 2023, Tate was formally charged and taken into custody once again with the respective allegations and is now awaiting an anticipated lengthy trial.
The effects of Andrew Tate and the power he holds amongst young men is nothing short of terrifying. One thing is for certain though – Andrew Tate is abhorrently vile but he is far from stupid. Tate unearthed the most common insecurities & vulnerabilities most men feel and radicalized young men into believing that he could be the cure for all.