Content warning: The following article includes mentions of sexual assault and can be disturbing or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
Who is Andrew Tate? A pro kickboxer, reality TV star, and social media personality, Tate has amassed a large and dedicated following on social media platforms due to his viral anti–feminist views. But what does he represent? It depends on who you ask.
Tate rose to fame through an appearance on Big Brother in 2016, during which he was kicked off the show after a video was released showing him beating a woman with a belt. He claimed the video was a misunderstanding, but the incident only seems to scratch the surface of his alarming behavior. He gained further notoriety in 2017 when, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations, he stated that women have to bear responsibility for being sexually assaulted. Since then, he’s maintained a presence on social media and even created an online course called “Hustler’s University” to give men advice and help them make money.
To many women, Tate is an example of the alt–right and their archaic views on feminism. Tate has been the subject of much controversy, from his misogynistic and pro–Trump statements to legitimate legal troubles. In April, police raided his mansion in Romania due to reports that he was holding women against their will. He admitted in a now–deleted video that “40% of the reason” he chose to move to Romania was because men were more likely to get away with sexual assault there. He said, “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free.”
To a burgeoning, cult–like fandom of young men online, he’s a hero of “free speech.” His many misogynistic statements—collected in compilations racking up millions of views—have made him the voice of men, angry at feminism and at women. Part of Tate’s appeal is that he represents a reaction against #MeToo—the internet witnessed a similar trend with the recent Depp–Heard defamation trial. Amber Heard was vilified as “proof” that women can be liars and abusers, too, while Depp was branded a hero by prominent conservative men like Donald Trump Jr. and Matt Gaetz.
Tate is seen as the ideal alpha male, unabashedly emblematic of toxic masculinity and unafraid to put women “in their place.” According to him, women who see themselves as equal to men are “the exact kind of woman that I would never give my time of day to.”
Tate’s brand of online anti–feminism is particularly dangerous because of how it appeals to kids and teens. Tate’s rhetoric is often spread through memes and social media pages, making his ideas easily accessible to impressionable young men. Though the alt–right is widely seen as a demographic populated by violent incels or political insurrectionists, this “approachable” form of misogyny can appeal to a much wider audience of men. Algorithms push more content based on what users have previously watched, leading further into radicalism and more extreme statements on misogyny, a phenomenon frequently called the alt–right pipeline. Andrew Tate’s popularity makes him the ideal starting point.
There has been growing concern about Andrew Tate’s ability to radicalize very young children. In a viral Reddit post, a teacher stated that Andrew Tate was “ruining [her] freshman boys.” “Not only are they making these misogynistic claims in class but are literally refusing to do assignments if it’s sourced from a woman,” she wrote. “I had three boys refuse to read an article by a female author because ‘women should only be housewives.’”
Another woman on Twitter claimed that the child she babysits said he wanted to be like Andrew Tate when he grew up, and that women should always listen to men. “Anyone who works with kids, has kids, younger siblings or have kids under your care monitor what they’re watching,” she warned. “For this to come out of a 10 year olds mouth is terrifying.”
As of Aug. 20, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have banned Andrew Tate due to his hateful rhetoric and violations of community guidelines. It’s an important step in reducing the amount of attention he receives online, but his fans simply see it as unjust censorship. In some sense, it’s made his message seem more powerful—as evidence that men who speak against women are being silenced, providing fuel to the male victim complex Tate promotes.
The alt–right pipeline is pervasive in today’s social media landscape, and banning one creator won’t fix the problem. Tate has simply moved on to Rumble, an app popular among conservatives, to continue spreading his message.
The real problem is much bigger—Tate’s popularity reflects the entitlement many men have to women’s bodies and their belief that feminism is cheating them out of those “rights.” It’s necessary for the safety of women worldwide—and the well–being of the many impressionable young boys on the internet—that anti–feminism be taken seriously. Though so much of his rhetoric is tied up in meme and clickbait culture, the implications of Andrew Tate’s words are terrifyingly real.
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