A Parent’s Guide to Self-Proclaimed Misogynist Andrew Tate

Markham teacher Nittya Rizza first Googled Andrew Tate after one of his year 12 students asked if they could have a debate about him – and what she found blew him away In the Army.

« It was awful, » she said.

The 36-year-old right-wing influencer and self-proclaimed misogynist made headlines this week after being arrested and charged with sex trafficking and rape in Romania. Many people have wondered why, exactly, the former kickboxer and « Big Brother » contestant is getting so much attention.

But if you don’t know who he is, chances are your teens will.

At a time when parents can no longer hover over the family computer to see exactly what their children are consuming online, some educators say Tate rose to prominence while children were out of in-person schooling due of the pandemic, missed opportunities to socialize in person, and were too reliant on social media platforms to fill in the gaps.

Tate fans say he stands up for men’s rights. But his critics say along the way he promotes views that can radicalize some young boys against women – he was banned from Twitter in 2017 after tweeting that women who are raped ‘must take some responsibility’ (sic). (His account was recently reinstated after Elon Musk took over the platform.) He also argued that women are the property of men and shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Plus, he does it using social media platforms that their parents might not take seriously.

He « has a lot of emotional appeal to this younger generation of downcast, lonely, and not properly socialized men, » Rizza says. « They think they can be empowered and gain social capital with what Andrew Tate is teaching them. »

Here’s what you need to know about Tate.

Tate rose to prominence in 2016 as a contestant on « Big Brother, » and he has since built a huge following on Instagram before his page was taken down, with fans sharing his content independently on TikTok. The #AndrewTate hashtag has surpassed 13.7 billion views on the platform.

While some of his content has seen him face bans online, his alleged choices in the real world have led to tougher actions this week, with Romanian police detaining and charging him and his brother, Tristan, sex trafficking and rape.

According to Romanian police, the brothers conspired with Romanian citizens to trick the women into coming to their villa in Bucharest, the New York Daily News reported. Once they arrived, the women were physically and psychologically intimidated and then forced to stay and film pornographic videos, police said.

Tate said he used to have « girlfriends » who worked for his successful online webcam business.

Investigators said at least one victim was allegedly raped twice and six alleged victims were rescued from the compound.

Earlier in the week, Tate tangled online with Greta Thunberg, the famous 19-year-old Swedish climate activist. On Tuesday, Tate tweeted a photo of himself next to a Bugatti and tagged him bragging about owning 33 cars and asking for his email address so he could send him a « complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions ».

After slapping her, he tweeted another video smoking a cigar and taunting her further with a pizza box on the table in front of him – Jerry’s Pizza, a store in Romania. Twitter users said that was part of the reason Romanian authorities were able to pinpoint his location and arrest him, but police said it was untrue.

Online combat was more in line with what Tate was previously known for.

Just as TikTok grew in popularity among young people during the pandemic, Tate’s videos grew in popularity, as did his lyrics about women can’t drive, shouldn’t leave the house, are owned by men, and are less worthy if they have a long dating history. They frequently appeared in cut videos posted by other users.

The entire Grade 12 class from Rizza to Markham knew Tate and interacted with his often hateful content online, fueled in part by the pandemic, social isolation and increased time behind screens.

In her experience, her students and other young men have turned to Tate after feeling targeted by the #MeToo movement, feminism and rumors that they sexually assault girls.

Luc Cousineau, an instructor at the University of Waterloo who studies masculinity, misogyny and men’s rights activism, places Tate in the category of « right-wing misogynist con artists » – which includes « pickup artists » and others that appeal to young men who feel disenfranchised and neglected by a society that has emphasized women’s rights.

There are a few dynamics that set Tate apart from other right-wing figures who prey on young men’s insecurities about wealth and relationships for monetary gain, Cousineau said. More importantly, Cousineau argues that Tate encourages violence.

« What effect does that have, if you’re, say, a new teacher who identifies as female in her mid-twenties and is starting, say, in a high school class, and you have 16-year-old boys, 17, 18? who subscribe to Andrew Tate … your students have subscribed” to someone who encourages violence against you, he said.

Also worth noting is Tate’s ability to make its content go viral.

« What’s new about Andrew Tate is that he figured out the algorithm…it’s a bit of a mystery how it happened, but either he figured it out or someone on his team really figured out how to leverage his presence, on TikTok in particular, » Cousineau says.

One method that appears to have had success was an effort to promote Tate ventures, such as Hustler University – a series of online « courses » promising financial success for « students » by « mastering a high-paying skill, starting your online business and leveraging modern investment strategies” – people were urged to post videos of Tate that would stir up controversy on social platforms to increase their chances of going viral.

Part of Hustler University’s business model was to pay users a commission if they enticed other « students » to sign up with their affiliate links, many of which appeared in the same bios as those who posted regular streams of Tate videos online.

Tate has since been banned from TikTok, and the platform said content featuring him would be removed earlier this year. Still, the #andrewtatequotes hashtag reached 1.1 billion views, with the same content they said would be removed readily available for viewing.

TikTok tends to have a younger demographic than Twitter or Facebook. Cousineau said it was worrying to see Tate so popular with teenagers, who might feel more pressured to follow his advice.

« At 36 the reaction is, oh, I’ve been left behind…at 16 the message becomes, well, if you don’t start fighting for this today, this will never be accessible to you or someone you know, » Cousineau said.

He added that he doesn’t believe Tate is actively courting this demographic, but simply mastering the platform most likely to reach them.

Tate’s videos online have traveled fast — as most controversial content does — but he didn’t gain notoriety solely from TikTok.

In 2016, Tate was kicked out of Big Brother because of a video of him hitting a woman with a belt. A second video emerged shortly after, where he is shown telling a woman to count the bruises he apparently gave her, the Guardian reported. Both Tate and the woman denied any abuse and said the clips showed consensual sex.

In September 2017, Tate was criticized by mental health charities for saying depression wasn’t real, and in October of that year he said women should take some responsibility for being raped during the #MeToo movement.

Yet Tate doesn’t always spout rhetoric like this, often telling young men to strive to be better and work on themselves, have a strong spirit and compete to be a ‘winner’. in society, a type of self-help brand that can hook people into Tate before they’re exposed to its more controversial content.

Now his own future remains to be seen, as he remains detained in Romania and faces charges.

With files from the New York Daily News


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