Roar writer Diya Nadeem comments on the rise of Andrew Tate, an attention-grabbing figure famous for showcasing his extreme opinions and lavish lifestyle online.
Andrew Tate – an online personality and kickboxer – has been storming the internet. By attracting attention with his controversial and often misogynistic views, Tate managed to garner over 4.7 million followers on Instagram before his account was shut down.
Tate undoubtedly has a problematic past, including sexual assault allegations and being kicked off of Big Brother for violent behaviour. The former kickboxer also previously tweeted dismissive ideas about sexual violence against women, stating that “if you put yourself in the position to be raped, you must bare some responsibility”. This statement led to his account being banned on Twitter, after which he created multiple new accounts.
Making his unsavoury attitudes towards women even more clear, he has said that the reason he moved to Romania was that it is easier to get off rape charges there, stating that this was “probably 40% of the reason” he moved to Eastern Europe in a now-deleted YouTube video.
Tate and his brother have also earned millions via an online business that they themselves have called a “scam”. This business uses webcam models to manipulate men into handing them money – of which 40% goes to the Tate brothers.
These incidents raise a few questions. How did this individual gain such a big platform? And why do so many people support him?
Many have said that they followed Tate merely as a joke. However, numerous people have argued that by following Tate, even for comedic purposes, people downplay how dangerous he really is for young boys and men. Personalities such as Andrew Tate pose as concerning role models for the young boys who look up to them in hopes of becoming ‘real men’.
On the other hand, some argue that Tate makes valid points. They justified following him by claiming that there is some sense to what he says.
Tate’s appeal largely stems from his promise that he can teach a man how to become an ‘alpha male’. Although difficult to pinpoint, some may argue that his virality began with the launch of Hustler’s University – an online scheme which claims to help educate individuals on how to make money fast.
His popularity seems to negatively influence young boys by suggesting that his patriarchal view of the world contributed to his vast wealth. The appeal of money and material items, such as rare guns and sports cars, are what tempt his audience into believing that his opinions have value.
Andrew Tate and other like-minded internet personalities exploit the concept of toxic masculinity for personal gain. With a large media platform to express their violent and misogynistic views, they expose viewers to sexist behaviours – ultimately leading to patriarchal attitudes being normalised.
A rise in sexual assault and rape cases has been reported in the UK, with the number of cases being “50% higher than pre-COVID“, according to the CPS. One study by Samuel T. Hayes and Theresa A. Gannon – Understanding Sexual Aggression in UK Male University Students – has reported that there is a “strong association” between “toxic masculinity and sexual violence”. The rise of online personalities who spread misogynistic views to the public, such as Andrew Tate, can be seen as a contributor to the sexist attitudes related to this increase in sexual violence.
Recently, Andrew Tate has been banned on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. The need to de-platform influencers with such harmful views has become increasingly crucial for the safety of women and men alike. Although the effect of de-platforming influencers has been questioned, it has been proven to be efficient in numerous cases in the past. Alex Jones, a far-right conspiracy theorist with a large online following, was recently restricted and banned from numerous services such as YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify. Having been removed for hate speech and promoting violent behaviours, Jones was stripped of his platform. Since then, he has been ordered to pay $49.3 million in damages as a result of his false claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.
Individuals who engage in hate speech and violent language in person can be criminally persecuted – so why is it any different online? In the modern era, in which most communication occurs online, both users and social media services should be more observant of the figures that they give a platform.