Andrew Tate must be treated like the threat he is

Art by Claire Hwa

Andrew Tate, a viral influencer and former professional kickboxer, has taken the internet by storm over the past few months with his extreme statements and blatant misogyny, earning himself the title of the “King of Toxic Masculinity.”

He has amassed a large following of mostly young male fans, to whom he preaches about living as an “alpha male” and generating wealth. His audience has also readily
devoured his hateful and deeply sexist messages toward women.

These statements are so outrageous and provocative that Tate has become something of a meme. He is frequently invited onto podcasts, roasted endlessly on Twitter and laughed at in TikTok clips.

However, this kind of attention is harmful and perpetuates the idea that misogyny is a joke, when it is anything but. The influence that Andrew Tate has on young boys is real and should be responded to in a serious way.

Tate exemplified his heinous behavior in a podcast, saying that “If a girl I like doesn’t like me sleeping and being with another woman, who cares what she likes? She’s a female. She’s barely sentient. She can’t think for herself. You’re supposed to think for her.”

He has also claimed that “If a woman is going out with a man, then she belongs to that man. That’s his woman.”

Some say that Tate is just saying these things to “chase clout” or generate views. But the truth is that these statements are reflective of Tate’s long history of violence toward women.

In 2016, Tate appeared on the reality TV show “Big Brother” before getting kicked off when a video surfaced of him beating a woman with a belt. Then, in 2017, Tate moved to Romania, saying in a now-deleted YouTube video that he did partly because it is easier to get off of rape charges in Eastern Europe.

His house in Romania was recently raided on account of suspected human trafficking, and it was found that there was an American woman being held captive in his house.

This history of abuse toward women clearly validates his radical views, proving that he truly believes the messages he spreads and poses a real threat.

Despite this menacing history, the internet mocks Tate on a very surface level. On Twitter, user @blumenfeld said that “This Andrew Tate dude has a lot of confidence for a guy who might as well have a goatee,” and @ChrissyTiber tweeted that “Andrew Tate looks like if you tried to draw Pitbull from memory.”

These comments and ones like them, while technically pitted against Tate, ridicule him for his appearance and demeanor, yet they don’t acknowledge the complex and severe issue he poses, and thus frame misogyny as a non-serious issue.

Podcasts that feature Tate for the shock value of his statements also contribute to this problem. Many podcasters only feature him on their shows because of his fame, not because they have any real hope of proving him wrong. In cases of bigoted people like Tate, personal growth and introspection are rare, so podcasters’ attempts to debate or educate him only spread his platform and name.

This nonchalant treatment of Tate and his message is harmful based on the real-life implications of his toxic messages.

Writing to “The S–t Show Podcast,” a teacher in New Zealand noted that “the majority of our students, especially the juniors, are obsessed with [Andrew Tate] and the outlandish views he portrays. What’s more terrifying is they actually see him as a role model. They’re starting to genuinely believe being successful is synonymous with abusing women.”

She said she has overheard 13 through 15-year-old students saying things like “women who are sexually assaulted are ‘asking for it’ due to ‘what they are wearing.’”

Additionally, according to the New York Daily Paper, Tate has been blamed for a rise in sexual assault incidents against female students in Australian schools.

This sort of behavior is so frequent among young male students that teachers have created protocols on how to address Tate’s views in the classroom. The Unteachables Academy, an online resource geared toward providing support for teachers, released the infographic “Are Your Students Being Influenced by Andrew Tate?” in August 2022. This informational guide describes how teachers can address Tate’s impact in a constructive way, suggesting to “open the conversation so you can guide in a way that informs and educates. Explain to them why the content is problematic. It is important to name the content for what it is: misogynistic and violent. What we ignore, we normalize.”

It is precisely in this way that the public should try to combat Tate’s influence: with care and concern.

Andrew Tate is not just some internet character that we can point and laugh at for his outlandish claims. Tate is convicted of sex trafficking, has been exposed for the assault of women and is a known misogynist who has detrimental influence over young, impressionable audiences.

The internet has a choice to either respond to him constructively, or to continue to do so harmfully. Rather than “memeify” him, we need to treat him as he is: a severe threat to society’s fight against misogyny.

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