Who is responsible for the Andrew Tates of the world?

By Atinuke | Feb 3, 2023

On the 27th of December, 2022, Andrew Tate, a popular social media influencer famous for his misogynistic content, made an incendiary tweet to climate activist 19-year-old Greta Thunberg about his sports car collection. Her viral response on Twitter upset him so much that he made a video in response. Not long after that, Tate and his brother, who had been under criminal investigation in Romania since April, were arrested on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group. 


In a statement, authorities said the gang recruited victims by “misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love”, and then the victims were forced to perform pornography “through physical violence and mental coercion”.


The controversial influencer is popular in the manosphere, which consists of online spaces dedicated to furthering content aimed at men and, prominently, incel rhetoric. As we discussed in our article, “How incels pose a threat to women’s safety”, the manosphere features male-centred, anti-woman content typically built around the supposed reclamation of masculinity. The manosphere cannot be divorced from the incel rhetoric that thrives within it, and this is especially harmful as teenage boys and young men are primary consumers of this messaging.


A secondary school teacher in England, Charlotte Carson, worries about the influence men like Tate have on her students. She says that some of them find him admirable and his lifestyle aspirational. One pupil told her they would still admire Tate even if he were found guilty of the crimes he’s been accused of.


In 2016, after video footage emerged of him beating a woman with a belt, they both said it was a kink and totally consensual; however, Tate then went very public with his views about women. Andrew Tate says women belong in the home, can’t drive, and are a man’s property. He mocked the #MeToo movement and says rape victims must “bear responsibility” for their attacks and dates women aged 18–19 because he can “make an imprint” on them, according to videos posted online. In other clips, he talks about hitting and choking women, trashing their belongings and stopping them from going out.


He gained immense popularity online, and according to the Guardian, he now has 12.7bn social media views and more Google searches than Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian. He was banned from some social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook; however, the internet is forever, and his content is still readily available to his faithful who can find them online. He has become the poster boy of the manosphere alongside others like Jordan Peterson and the late Kevin Samuels, however, his reach is especially worrying as teenage boys are a core part of his following and, according to secondary school teachers, tend to take his teachings literally.


A series of messages were released by Vice World News of Tate boasting about raping a woman. The texts and voice messages were released by the outlet one day after Tate failed to secure his release from a Romanian jail in the middle of the sex-trafficking investigation into him and his brother. The misogynistic influencer sent a woman who accused him of rape in 2013 threatening messages after the incident, including ones where he said he “enjoyed it.” The woman is the third to reveal to VICE World News that they had filed police complaints alleging sexual or physical abuse by Tate.


“I love raping you,” Tate said in one of the texts shared with Vice. “Monsters are monsters. When ur under my control, I do whatever I please.”


Two other women who accused Tate of rape and the other of repeated strangulation revealed that after their initial complaints in 2015, Hertfordshire Police took four years to pass the case to prosecutors, who then declined to prosecute.


On TikTok, thousands of members of Tate’s private online academy Hustler’s University, and a network of copycat accounts ensure that his content is popularised and gains traction by reposting his controversial views repeatedly. According to the Guardian, on TikTok, videos of him have been watched 11.6 billion times despite a lot of the content appearing to be against TikTok’s rules, which explicitly ban misogyny and copycat accounts. Little has been done to limit Tate’s spread or ban the accounts responsible. As a result, the platform has propelled him into the mainstream – allowing clips of him to proliferate, and actively promoting them to young users.


Homophobia, the use of racial slurs, rape apology and blatant misogyny have done nothing but further Tate’s influence among men who see him as a role model and his ideologies as gospel. Though Tate has not outrightly labelled himself an incel, his image is that of a quintessential incel, and his admirers and fans follow suit. 


In this same vein of supposed masculinity coaches who teach men how to make money, pull women and then control them, be “alpha males”, and defy the matrix, some influencers on Twitter NG have also created a niche by sharing offensive, misogynistic content posited as male empowerment. 


Popular Nigerian manosphere influencer, Shola preaches and furthers textbook incel rhetoric. His paid telegram group is comparable to Tate’s Hustler’s University, where he supposedly teaches the men who pay how to be men; alpha males. His messaging degrades women and teaches men not to be “simps”, simps being anyone who respects women or stands up for them online. Though his Twitter account was suspended, he has since created a new one, and his followers remain devoted. Other Nigerian male influencers like Wizarab, Kevin Odanz, Yehgha, Yomyom and more continue to amass followers and build their images around denigrating women. 


Men are not and have never been a marginalised gender or demographic. The posturing and fear-mongering that masculinity is in danger and begging for reclamation is a recipe for disaster as it furthers harmful misogynistic rhetoric as if the world is not already violent enough towards women. Masculinity coaches such as Tate, Jordan Peterson, Kevin Samuels and Shola rely on incel ideology to further their online presence. They are misogynistic and wrap up this misogyny in supposed logic to further their misguided notions and messages about women. 


As is seen with Tate and his very real instances of violence against women and criminal activity, this messaging is not just talk and should not be dismissed as such. Crimes have been committed against women inspired by incel rhetoric too often to disregard the impact that its increasing popularity has on the online space and in our day-to-day reality. 


Who is responsible for the Andrew Tates of the world? Twitter user @RevDaniel says, “Young men do not gravitate to Peterson and Tate to “learn how to be men”. They gravitate to them to learn that it’s ok to be misogynists, racist and homophobic. Those seeds are already planted by our culture. Peterson and Tate just water it and collect the profits.”


Men refuse to divest from the patriarchy and even capitalise on it. When their belief that they are entitled to women and success if they perform masculinity does not tally with their reality, they turn to incel influencers to reinforce the misogyny that society has already instilled in them. Of course, the women are to blame; this is how to keep them in check and alter your reality: by being an "alpha male."


Social media platforms need to prioritise the safety of women online and offline by preventing the spread of clearly offensive and harmful views that encourage harm, the subjugation of and violence against women.