When I was a junior in high school, the boys in my class discovered and deployed with great regularity the joke that women “belonged in the kitchen.” I don’t know where they learned it (Tucker Max, probably?), but beyond being misogynistic and rude, it was also sort of fascinating. It seemed that once the boys were old enough to understand what sexism was, they saw its opposition as a threat.
This example is not to excuse the insipid and often violent beliefs of many young men, but rather to contextualize just how uninteresting, juvenile, and well-trodden this brand of reactionary anti-feminism is. Yet the internet is good for nothing if not repacking the same tired bullshit into something that looks shiny and new, and its latest iteration of women-hating man combines all of this with other trends of the moment: hustle culture, shock jockery, fighter sports, and, hilariously, pyramid schemes.
Andrew Tate is a 35-year-old former kickboxer, ex-reality show contestant, and current podcaster-slash-”King of Toxic Masculinity” whose inflammatory diatribes against women, whom he compares to property, have become viral fodder on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube over the last several years. Often seen with sunglasses and a cigar, he’s inescapable on algorithm-driven platforms, so much so that high school and middle school teachers say he’s completely derailed their classes and is responsible for an uptick in sexual harassment.
Until recently, he was also the head of a subscription-based online course program called Hustler’s University, in which customers paid $49 per month to learn, supposedly, how to earn $10,000 per month through crypto investing, drop-shipping, or other scam-adjacent activities. Customers also received commission for each new person they got to sign up, and marketed their affiliate links by flooding social media with footage of Tate’s most provocative videos. According to a Guardian investigation, there were 127,000 members of Hustler’s University before it shut down earlier this week. He remains the host of his podcast, which is called Tate Speech.
Tate’s misogynist rap sheet is long: As NBC News helpfully catalogs so that I don’t have to, Tate has described in detail how he would assault a woman if she accused him of cheating, how he’d rather date 18-year-olds than 25-year-olds because he can “make an imprint” on teenagers who’ve “been through less dick.” On a recent podcast episode he said he’d hit a woman and broke her jaw during a bar fight but “got away with it,” and he has said that the police raided his UK home as part of an investigation into whether he abused a woman.
Soon afterward, he moved from the UK to Romania, claiming in a since-deleted YouTube video that this was because the police are less likely to investigate sexual assaults there. Earlier this year, the Daily Mirror reported that Tate and his brother ran a webcam studio in which women would “sell sob stories” to unknowing men who would pay as much as $4 per minute to talk to them (the brothers took most of the money), which his brother described as “all a big scam.” He’s an ardent supporter of Trump and met with Donald Trump Jr. in 2017; he’s also hung out with UK far-right politician Nigel Farage, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson.
In response to the recent onslaught of press coverage of Andrew Tate, most of the major social media platforms have banned him. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have all removed his accounts there, citing violations against their policies on violent speech, as have YouTube and Twitch. Twitter, meanwhile, permanently suspended him in 2017 when he tweeted that women should “bare [sic] some responsibility” for being sexually assaulted.
The problem with these bans is that they don’t necessarily remove all content featuring Tate himself, even though the vast majority of viral Tate content is posted by other people. He’s a frequent guest on popular video podcasts like Full Send or Barstool Sports’ BFF; and leftist Twitch streamer Hasan Piker regularly posts reactions to Tate videos.
He’ll be on the internet whether the platforms ban him or not — and not because he’s uniquely talented or found some ingenious hack to game the system. It’s because he’s saying things that, no matter how awful, will always resonate with a certain small segment of the public. Most of his fans are young men, presumably those most primed to take in his views because of their existing resentment, anger, and sexual frustration. It’s the same impulse that leads young men toward hateful communities on incel forums or other toxic spaces like Gamergate, pickup artistry, or men’s rights activism. It is also, perhaps, the same one that encourages 16-year-old boys to instruct their female classmates to “go make me a sandwich.”
To be clear, anyone uploading a video of or talking about Andrew Tate knows exactly what they’re doing: they’re inviting anger, controversy, or as Tate calls it, “war.” Comments on videos of him range from mocking to fearful to, yes, adoring, but the important part is that they’re attention-getting. This is how algorithmically driven platforms work: by exploiting humans’ most base impulses toward controversy and extremism. Even if you hate what you’re watching, it’s no less stimulating — algorithms don’t care about your feelings. In other words, Andrew Tate gets views regardless of whether the coverage of him is positive or negative. It’s the reason why this article will probably get more clicks than anything I’d actually rather be writing about, perhaps a topic that does not involve the name “Hustler’s University.”
We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again when the next vile, shameless man combines virulent misogyny with whatever aesthetic is trendy at the time. Because besides being extraordinarily hateful, what Andrew Tate is, most of all, is boring. For as long as women have demanded equality, there has been a backlash to it. Tate is simply riding the latest wave, a movement that includes the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the anti-#MeToo sentiment reflected in the verdict on Depp v. Heard.
There is no point in giving this weirdo any more attention; there is nothing “special” about him besides the fact that he, as one viral tweet posits, “looks like if you tried to draw Pitbull from memory.” Do you have children who know who Andrew Tate is? Talk to them. Are you an officer of law enforcement investigating his alleged crimes? Keep doing that. Otherwise, ignore him altogether. You’ll be doing the world a favor.
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