For as long as there has been extensive progression within the feminist movement, we have witnessed an equally powerful masculine backlash. Armed with misogyny and violence, swathes of disenfranchised boys and men have fought back against the advancement of women, pedalling ultra-conservative ideas of gender roles and strength. These ideologies thrive within online forums, social media platforms, and even political arenas.
Inside these movements, certain public figures emerge. They become icons and symbols of what masculinity supposedly should look like. And for the past year, one man in particular has embodied this sentiment to such an extent that he is now considered the face of the ultra-masculine archetype, and that is Andrew Tate.
The former kickboxer and alleged rapist has made a living off of championing controversial sexist perspectives. Masquerading as simply another social media influencer, Tate has utilised platforms such as TikTok and Twitter to successfully peddle his highly problematic and dangerous opinions to thousands of young impressionable minds.
As encapsulated by The Guardian, Tate’s content “included videos of him saying women are a man’s property, rape victims are to blame for their own assaults, and talking about hitting and choking women, trashing their belongings and stopping them from going out.” Even when Tate is seemingly ‘praising’ women for their qualities, his admiration is solely reliant on them fulfilling specific toxic beauty standards.
Despite having been repeatedly banned from numerous online platforms, Tate has managed to build a worryingly loyal following. What’s even more frightening is how the controversial figure’s content is being deliberately propped up by some of the biggest social media site’s algorithms. In an attempt to accurately demonstrate this, one of SCREENSHOT’s staff writers created a fresh TikTok account and within two days, the video-sharing app organically served him a Tate propaganda clip.
It should also be noted that misogyny is an incredibly lucrative business. Tate has always flaunted his massive amount of wealth—an ideal he promises to other lucky men for the small price of mistreating and abusing women.
The self-proclaimed guru has allegedly amassed a fortune via both his online videos and through subscriptions to his Hustlers University, a bogus online academy which promised to teach young boys and men how to get rich quick. In August 2022, the university had approximately 127,000 members paying £39 a month. Thankfully, the programme has since been shut down.
In regard to other wealth, it’s been a bit of a guessing game. A number of publications have estimated it to be ranging from $50 million to $350 million.
However, despite not knowing an accurate number, Tate’s fans have been assured of his extreme fortune—particularly due to the fact that he’s persistently exhibited his access to luxury travel and supercars.
Now, I could very easily spend hours detailing all of the reasons as to why this man should be kept behind bars. However, luckily for me, his recent arrest in Romania on suspicion of sexual assault, human trafficking and organised crime hopefully means I won’t ever have to.
The reason why Tate still demands so much of our attention isn’t solely down to him as an individual, it’s what he represents. According to male supremacist expert Lisa Sugiura for The Conversation, Tate’s superpower has been his ability to capitalise on disillusioned men and young boys who feel threatened by the feminist movement and who seek guidance on how to reclaim power.
They want to be perceived as strong, valuable and authoritative members of society, and they think someone like Tate can help.
Online, this group is often recognised as the ‘manosphere’ and their identity is closely linked to that of incelism. The connecting factor for all of these communities hinges on the idea of male victimhood. As emphasised by Sugiura, “Tate has capitalised on the idea that men are oppressed. He presents simplistic explanations that legitimise this idea that men are being wronged by societal efforts towards gender equality. And he is weaponizing it for his own financial gain.”
It’s also important to note that academics and theorists have explicitly proven that when popular feminist movements occur, they’re always immediately followed by popular misogyny, a term articulated by academic and author Sarah Banet-Weiser.
Incelism might appear on the surface to simply be a hateful online movement that hides in seedy chat rooms, but in reality, it’s been progressively seeping into the real world—resulting in a vicious uptake in violence against women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three women globally experience violence. This means that around 736 million are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner.
This violence is also not always the kinds of brutal attacks we see in mainstream media, the rise of incelism and misogyny often reveals itself in smaller yet more insidious ways. It’s forms of casual sexism and covert harassment that truly permeate and damage the lives of women on a daily basis.
We’d be foolish to think that Tate’s recent arrest could dampen his impact. Extremism always finds a way.
The infamous, self-proclaimed ‘Top G’ was probably one of the worst things to show its face in 2022. Suddenly, out of nowhere, yet another misogynist had taken over the social media cycle, spewing out dangerously inflammatory content everywhere you looked. The shady former Big Brother contestant was promising an ultra-luxurious lifestyle, promoted as attainable by upholding a mindset of coercion, manipulation and superiority.
This online rhetoric unfortunately led to him winning the hearts and minds of many adolescent boys—in part made worse by a parasitic TikTok algorithm—and has since been the subject of much controversy.
For those who aren’t fully aware of where Tate even came from in the first place, here’s a quick explainer. Once a relatively good kickboxer, Tate’s athletic career eventually waned, leading him to retire and instead focus his attention on a webcam sex service in 2015. This was then followed by fake hustling and ‘get rich quick’ schemes, all backed up by pretend godly faith and traditional values. Incredibly ironic, I know, given the views and attitudes he holds, especially when it comes to the treatment of women.
The self-avowed guru has seen a meteoric rise since he switched into a hyper-masculine, incel-worshipped influencer but, over the past few months, his online presence has begun to dwindle due to rather delayed action taken by social media platforms to prevent the damage he and his cronies had been inflicting on impressionable minds.
Thankfully, it seems that Tate’s house of cards has finally buckled under the enormous weight of the mounting allegations made against him. According to the BBC, on 29 December 2022, the con man was arrested alongside his brother Tristan in Romania on charges of rape and human trafficking.
A spokesperson for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT)—a law enforcement agency of the Romanian government—told the BBC that prosecutors had applied to hold the influencer at a detention centre for an additional 30 days.
The Tate siblings are accused of having “created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content for an online cost.” Essentially, the two have allegedly associated themselves with and actively participated within a trafficking group, a fact that the former TikTok cult figure hardly even hides anymore, having once stated that the reason he moved to Romania was because “rape laws are more lenient there.” Lovely stuff.
For those clued in on Tate’s background and history, these charges may not come as much of a surprise. A recently released report from Vice has unearthed details surrounding a previous rape investigation involving the former kickboxer.
In what can only be described as a horrendous mishandling of justice by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the misogynist walked free in 2015 after two women accused him of rape and assault. Despite being suspected of a criminal offence and under investigation by Hertfordshire Police, Tate initially kept his spot on the reality show Big Brother, which he was a part of in early 2016.
Viewers initially suspected that the reason he was subsequently booted from the programme was due to an incriminating video surfacing—the contents of which showed Tate slapping an ex-girlfriend and hitting her with a belt. However, Banijay UK—the parent company behind the production of Big Brother—has since confirmed that he was ultimately removed from the reality TV show as a result of the aforementioned police investigation.
Unfortunately, the CPS failed to follow up on the report in any meaningful capacity at the time, leaving the victims neglected and overlooked in their trauma as a result of the influencer.
Much of the speculation online over Tate’s arrest began following an altercation on Twitter between the Hustler’s University founder and climate activist and gen Z legend Greta Thunberg. It’s worth noting that Tate was first banned from the bird app in 2017 for a tweet suggesting that women were in part responsible for being raped—a callous comment he made in response to allegations made against Harvey Weinstein at the time. He then got his account back when Elon Musk took over the platform. Nice one, Elon.
Unprompted, Tate fired over a combative tweet to the activist, obnoxiously listing his arsenal of luxury vehicles and detailing how much emissions several of his cars emit, gloating proudly about the impact he alone has on climate change—Tate of course being a feverish denier of the science.
Thunberg clapped back in the best way possible and had Twitter absolutely alight for days following his arrest.
Tate retaliated with a long (and very boring) video message again coming for the teenager, a person who is 17 years his junior. The clip notably showed the controversial man eating from a local pizza box, a point of interest that Twitter users theorised aided the authorities in locating the criminal and making his and his brother’s arrests.
Although this was later debunked, the young activist’s final tweet on the matter was the best way to end 2022:
Following this online spat and the subsequent arrest, Tate has now had his vehicle collection seized, as reported by Romanian outlet Spy News. The Romanian authorities are said to have confiscated the assets, worth roughly €5 million, as well as taking control of several buildings where Tate was alleged to have been housing his victims.
Among the seized vehicles were a Rolls-Royce and a Bugatti, but it should be noted that the grand total of 33 cars—aka the amount that Tate himself boasted he had to Thunberg—seems to be missing from the police report.
Though it remains unclear as to exactly what faces Tate at the end of his 30-day detention, we can only hope that this is the beginning of the end for the king of toxicity.