Andrew Tate as a Teachable Moment

Andrew Tate on TikTok. (@tate_inspire / TikTok)

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. Below, find a background of who Andrew Tate is, with special attention to his misogyny. A forthcoming Part 2 features a series of talking points to help spark discussions in the classroom and around the dinner table about Tate’s views, alleged criminal behavior, and the role of the online “manosphere” in helping to shape retrograde and reactionary beliefs about masculinities, women and feminism. 

Part 1: Who Is Andrew Tate?

The arrest and detention of the British-American social media star Andrew Tate in Romania last week as part of an investigation into human trafficking and rape ignited a worldwide firestorm of commentary and debate about misogyny, sexual exploitation, free speech and feminism.

For anyone who has not followed the rise of Tate, the “manfluencer” who has been called “The King of Toxic Masculinity,” the essential facts are as follows.

Andrew Tate is a 36-year-old biracial former world champion kickboxer whose notoriety grew after he was kicked off the reality TV show Big Brother in the United Kingdom in 2016 when a video surfaced of him appearing to beat a woman with a belt. No criminal charges were filed; both Tate and the woman in the video claimed it was fully “consensual.”

Through a combination of videos, podcast interview appearances and a steady stream of wildly provocative and often jarringly misogynous statements, Tate has long demonstrated a stunning aptitude for both attracting attention and monetizing it.  

According to various sources, TikTok videos that feature him or his ideas have received an estimated 11.6 billion views. Estimates of his personal wealth range from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. 

One of his on-line revenue streams comes from “Hustler’s University,” a multi-level marketing scheme in which Tate promised young men with “making money, pulling girls and escaping the Matrix” if they pay $49 per month—and sign-up others to join. Before it was shut down in 2022 after Tate was kicked off Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, Tate claimed (unverified) that it had more than 100,000 customers. 

Tate’s arrest last week near Bucharest (along with his brother Tristan and two others) appears to be related to another source of his considerable income. A statement released by Romanian prosecutors said, “The four suspects … appear to have created an organized crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialized websites for a cost.”

To his legions of (mostly) young male followers, Tate preaches a gospel of “take what is yours” nihilism and unapologetic material ambition in a corrupt and decadent world. His carefully curated image includes numerous photo ops of him wearing luxurious clothing and jewelry, flying in a private jet, or standing alongside one of his many expensive and flashy sports cars.

But many of his most controversial—and widely shared—pronouncements are those about women. Tate is a self-proclaimed misogynist. He relentlessly and unapologetically makes degrading and dismissive comments about women that seem designed to provoke maximum feminist outrage. It should be noted that some of his young male fans seem to take his pronouncements seriously; others think he’s playing a persona and it’s all just an act.

Regardless of his intent, Tate has clearly helped to normalize expressions of overt misogyny. This is especially worrisome when you consider that his audience includes many millions of  young men who have received a barrage of mixed messages over the past generation about what it means to be a man in a time of rapid societal transformation.    

In one video, Tate complained that “women are failing in their role,” which he said should be to cook for a man and give birth to children. He once lectured a group of young women that their career aspirations don’t matter and that the “happiest women” have children and a man who is paying their bills.

In an interview last summer with Barstool Sports, Tate came very close to saying that if he was being a protector and financially “responsible” for a woman he might be in a relationship with, she is in effect his property. Later he clarified himself. “I’m not saying they’re property,” he said. “I am saying they are given to the man and belong to the man.”

He says he dates women aged 18–19 because he can “make an imprint” on them.

His repeated endorsement of violent misogyny is even more alarming. When asked what he would do if a woman accused him of cheating, he said, “It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up b*tch.”

He was “permanently” banned from Twitter in 2017 after tweeting that women who are sexually assaulted “bear some responsibility” for the assault. (Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk recently reinstated him.)

In a comment that circulated widely even before he was arrested by Romanian authorities, he said that “probably 40 percent of the reason” he moved there was because “it would be easier to avoid rape charges.” 

“I’m not a rapist,” he added, “but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free.”

Tate has also expressed strong political opinions. He supports Donald Trump and has appeared in photos with Nigel Farage, the far-right British Brexiteer. Among his apologists in right-wing media are Fox News star Tucker Carlson, who has interviewed him and—until Tate’s arrest last week—claimed he was “skeptical” of allegations against him.

Tate regularly makes standard issue right-wing populist pronouncements about shadowy elites controlling the world and censoring conservative speech. When he was arrested, he tweeted that “the Matrix” had tried to shut him down; he later tweet-bragged that it would not succeed, because “my unmatched perspicacity coupled with sheer indefatigability makes me a feared opponent in any realm of human endeavor.” He added, “For every domain the Matrix shuts down, we have dozens ready to replace it.”

Just before his arrest, Tate made global headlines for an online and unprovoked beef he picked with Swedish climate justice activist Greta Thunberg. On Dec. 27, Tate tweeted at Thunberg that he had “33 cars” and wanted her email address so he could send her a complete list of his cars and their “enormous emissions.” He included a photo of himself gassing up his Ducati sports car.

Thunberg responded the next day with a tweet that many are describing as one of the greatest in history. “Yes, please do enlighten me,” she tweeted, “email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com.”

At this writing Thunberg’s reply has received more than 4 million likes—one of the highest totals ever recorded.

Editor’s note: Part 2 of a two-part series on Andrew Tate will be released tomorrow. Expect talking points about Tate and his influence—a practical tool for educators, journalists and parents.

Up next:

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About

Jackson Katz, Ph.D., is internationally renowned for his pioneering scholarship and activism on issues of gender, race and violence. He is the creator and co-producer of the documentary The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump, which is streaming free through the end of December 2022. Katz has long been a major figure and thought leader in the growing global movement of men working to promote gender equality and prevent gender violence. He is co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), one of the longest-running and most widely influential gender violence prevention programs in North America and beyond. He is the author of two acclaimed books and creator of the award-winning Tough Guise educational documentary series. His TEDx talk, "Violence Against Women Is a Men's Issue," has over 5 million total views.