Inside the violent and misogynistic world of new TikTok star, Andrew Tate

Andrew Tate says women belong in the house, they can’t drive, and they belong to the man.

He also believes rape victims should “take responsibility” for their assaults and is dating women between the ages of 18 and 19 because he can “leave a mark” on them, according to videos posted online.

In other clips, the British-American kickboxer – who stands with fast cars and pistols and portrays himself as a cigar-smoking playboy – talks about beating and strangling women, throwing their belongings in the trash and preventing them from going outside.

“He hits the machete, it explodes in her face and grabs her by the neck. Shut up you bitch,” he says in one of the videos, behaving in the manner of his attack on a woman if she accused him of treason. In another clip, he describes throwing a woman’s things out of a window. In a third episode, he called his ex-girlfriend who accused him of hitting her – an allegation he denies – a “stupid hoe”.

Domestic violence charities have described Tate’s views as extreme misogyny, capable of radicalizing men and boys to commit mischief offline.

But the 35-year-old is no fringe figure who lurks in an obscure corner of the Dark Web. Instead, he is one of the most popular personalities on TikTok, with his videos being viewed 11.6 billion times.

Designed as a self-help guru, offering his mostly male fans a recipe for making money, attracting girls, and “escaping the Matrix,” Tate went within months from semi-mysterious to one of the most talked about people in the world. In July, more Google searches for his name were than for Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian.

His rapid rise to fame was no accident. Evidence he obtained observer It shows that Tate’s followers are being asked to flood social media with his videos, choosing the most controversial clips in order to maximize views and engagement.

Experts have described the coordinated effort, which includes thousands of members of Hustler’s University’s private online Tate academy and a network of fake accounts on TikTok, as a “blatant attempt to manipulate the algorithm” and artificially boost its content. In less than three months, the strategy has earned him a massive online following and potentially millions of pounds, with 127,000 members now paying £39 a month to join Hustler’s university community, many of them men and boys from the UK and US.

However, while much of the content appears to break TikTok’s rules, which explicitly ban misogyny and fake accounts, the platform appears to have done little to curb the spread of Tate or ban responsible accounts. Instead, it pushed him into the mainstream – allowing his videos to go viral, actively promoting them to younger users.

Tate grew up on a property in Luton, the son of a catering assistant and chess master, and has long been making headlines for causing controversy. During his twenties, he worked as a television producer while training kickboxers at the local gym, and went on to fight professionally and win world titles.

In 2016, his public-facing career seemed to come to an end when it had barely begun, after being cast Big brother He was kicked out of the house over a video of him hitting a woman with a belt. A second video clip surfaced shortly thereafter, in which he appeared to tell a woman to count the bruises he apparently caused her. Both Tate and the women denied any assault, and said the clips showed consensual sex.

More controversy followed. Posts containing racist and homophobic insults were found on his Twitter page. Then in September 2017, mental health charities criticized him for saying depression was “not real.” The following month, he logged on to #MeToo, saying that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped – a view he has since reiterated that, among other incidents, resulted in him being banned from tweeting.

The backlash earned Tate’s work and boosted his profile. Featured on InfoWars, the podcast of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; Filmed with far-right YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson and meeting Donald Trump Jr at Trump Tower, he posted on Facebook afterwards: “Support the all-win Tate family. MAGA!”

Andrew Tate with Nigel Farage, posted on Facebook in March 2019. Photography: Emory Andrew Tate/Facebook

In the UK, meanwhile, he mingled with Brexit chief Nigel Farage, Facebook photos appear and he talks about ties to anti-Islam activist Stephen Yaxley Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson. Tate describes Yaxley-Lennon in a podcast as a “tough guy” with a “good heart” who has “had countless times.” In 2019, police were called after Tate showed up at the home of Mike Stochbury, the journalist who criticized him online, days after Yaxley-Lennon had done the same. The accident caused Stuchbery’s wife to have a panic attack and played a role in their departure from the United Kingdom for Germany.

Long before he rose to TikTok fame, Tate’s opinions about women also became clear. On Facebook in 2018, he lamented the “decline of Western civilization” after seeing a poster at Heathrow that “encouraged girls to go on vacation rather than be a loving mother and devoted wife.”

He also publicly discussed being charged with violence against several women, although it is not understood that he was eventually charged with any offenses other than a driving offense in 2018. In an interview, Tate describes an incident in which a woman kicked a phone off his phone. Hand in hand with a club, a man punched him and they started wrestling. In the melee, he accidentally hit the woman and broke her jaw, he says.

In another video, he said he was investigated by the police for allegedly abusing a woman, which he denied, in a case in which he broke into his home, confiscated devices, and was held in a cell for two days.

While UK police were investigating allegations of abuse, Tate left the UK for Romania. In one of the videos in which he explained the reasons for this move, he indicated that the reason was that it would be easier to evade the rape charges. That’s “maybe 40% of the reason he moved there,” he says in one of the videos, adding, “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of ​​being able to do whatever I want. I like being free.”

However, more allegations will follow. in january, daily mirror She stated that Tate and his brother Tristan were “make millions from webcam sites where men hand a fortune because they fall in love with fake hate stories for models” – something they themselves described as a “complete scam”.

Then in April, police raided the brothers’ mansion after a tip-off from the US Embassy that a 21-year-old American woman was being held against her will. The Tates family was taken for questioning before they were released and denied any wrongdoing. Romanian authorities said last week that the investigation, which was later expanded to include allegations of human trafficking and rape, was continuing.

In the midst of the offline drama, Tate content has gone viral. Since January, videos repackaged from interviews with Tate over the years have attracted millions of views on TikTok. But in recent weeks, that growth has accelerated. In August alone, clips tagged with his name were viewed over a billion times.

The posts do not come from Tate himself, who does not appear to be active on the platform, but from hundreds of accounts, often using his name and photo, operated by his followers – members of Hustler’s University. Members, including boys under the age of 13, have been told they can earn up to £10,000 a month with lessons on investing in cryptocurrency, drop shipping and recruit others at Hustler’s University, earning a 48% commission for each person they refer.

To have the best chance of getting people to sign up, it is advisable to stir up arguments to improve their chances of getting caught.

In one guidebook, Hustler’s University “students” are told that attracting “comments and controversy” is the key to success: “What you ideally want is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters. You want arguments, you want war.”

Many of Tate’s videos seem, at first glance, harmless, even funny. In his candid manner, he mocks men who drink tap water instead of sparkling water and who own cats. “Real men have dogs,” he says. Other materials are offered under the banner of male self-improvement.

But much of it appears to fit the definition of hateful content set forth in the TikTok Community Guidelines, which state that TikTok is “inclusive and supportive” and prohibits content that “praises, promotes, glorifies, or supports any hateful ideology,” including misogyny.

TikTok’s terms also explicitly state that it prohibits accounts that “impersonate” another person, using their name or photo “in a misleading manner”.

However, in the past week, the content being promoted to users on the platform appeared to be a blatant violation of the rules.

We ran an anonymous experiment with an empty account set up for a teenage boy and soon we were shown Tate’s content. After watching two of his videos, we recommended more, including clips of him expressing misogynistic views. The next time the account was opened, the first four posts were from Tate, from four different accounts.

In one of the videos, posted from an account with Tate’s name and face, he realistically describes how he expects his girlfriends to act: “I expect, I expect, absolute loyalty from my lady,” he says. “I don’t make chicks talk to other men, I love other men. My frakies don’t go to the club without me, they are at home.”

Tate, as posted on Instagram.
Tate, as posted on Instagram. Photo: @cobratate/Instagram

For fans of Tate, the results will not come as a surprise. Much of his history is not hidden but is openly discussed in the podcast, and his supporters say his frank speaking style is an antidote to the so-called cancel culture.

Critics say his rise is raising concerns about online misogyny and potential extremism, with one woman online calling him “the most feared man on the internet”. Another, who asked for advice in a forum, described how her boyfriend’s “attitudes and opinions” have “dramatically changed” after watching Tate’s videos.

Andrea Simon, director of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women, said several of Tate’s videos appeared to be “clearly violating” TikTok’s terms and said that by “taking no action”, the platform “facilitates and ultimately benefits from potential radicalization in young male users.” “.

NSPCC’s Hannah Rochen, a policy officer, added: “Watching such material at an early age can shape a child’s experiences and attitudes, resulting in further harm to women and girls in and out of school and on the Internet.”

Tate’s rise also shows how the TikTok algorithm is open to manipulation by bad actors, says Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate. except to pause for a few moments before she starts suggesting similar content to you over and over again.”

He added, “It is up to TikTok to search for malicious content and manipulate its platform. It begs the question, ‘Why did they not notice this? And why did they fail to act?'”

In a comment this weekend, TikTok said it takes misogyny seriously and is actively investigating whether accounts posting Tate content are violating its rules.

A spokeswoman said, “Mis misogyny, ideologies, and other hateful behaviors are not tolerated on TikTok, and we are working to review this content and take action against violations of our guidelines. We are constantly looking to enhance our policies and enforcement strategies, including adding more safeguards to our recommendations system.” .

He did not comment on allegations of platform manipulation, but said users could click “Disinterested” in videos they don’t like to hide future material from that particular account.

Tate, whose content remained viral on the platform this weekend, did not respond to requests for comment.

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