In an article about Andrew Tate, an illustration of him
Illustration by Sarah Shin, George Washington University

Inside Andrew Tate’s Empire and His Audience of Young Men

He succeeded at captivating a fringe group of wannabe alpha-males — the question is, how?

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In an article about Andrew Tate, an illustration of him
Illustration by Sarah Shin, George Washington University

He succeeded at captivating a fringe group of wannabe alpha-males — the question is, how?

Andrew Tate, former kickboxer turned controversial internet personality, has crept his way into the minds of young men all over the world. He became a contentious figure seemingly overnight and many don’t understand how he took the internet by storm. Employing pro-alpha male rhetoric, he often preaches the importance of a male-dominated society where men make all the decisions for women and have the freedom to engage in polygyny regardless of their partner’s potential displeasure. Chances are, you’ve seen him tout his expensive lifestyle as a representation of manliness and self-worth on different social media platforms. Tate has been a topic of discussion on many podcasts and livestreams of different political ideologies. He is loved by some and disliked by many.

Aside from regularly expounding his unusual views on gender on social media, a chunk of Tate’s income has come from selling his online course called “Hustler’s University,” which he describes as being a course in “modern wealth creation.” The HU website asks the question “What is Hustler’s University?” and yet provides no clear definition. They call it a “cash-school” and claim that each student is provided with an online business model of their choice. It seems that the definition of HU is to be read between the lines: It’s just a class on how to make money.

How they teach you to make money and with what sources are unclear. People have likened it to a pyramid scheme based on its lack of clarity and transparency and the fact that it seems to be mainly an affiliate program. In a YouTube video by Twitch streamer Hasanabi on HU, he says, “If the main source of revenue for you is how-to-get-rich quick schemes and the job or the presentation that you’re offering to people is how to get rich quick by selling how-to-get-rich-quick schemes, then you’re just f—ing people over.”

Another supposed major source of income for Tate is his online webcam modeling business with female performers. According to an article by the Daily Mail, he and his brother Tristan Tate share a business where they get webcam models to share “sob stories” with men, who in turn pay egregious amounts of money to engage in conversation with them. Both brothers say that it’s all under the guise that customers can potentially build genuine relationships with the models and they admit that the business is a scam, but feel no guilt and continue to rake in millions of dollars. Expanding on his views of webcam modeling, Andrew Tate has also said that if a woman in a relationship joins one of these sites, her significant other is entitled to her earnings. He believes this because, in his opinion, women are the property of their male partners.

This type of attitude while working in such an industry can be a recipe for disaster. Women in that position are generally much more vulnerable to different types of abuse and if they have a supervisor who doesn’t inherently respect them, that vulnerability skyrockets. Earlier this year, Tate was accused of human trafficking and was thought to be holding an American woman hostage at his home in Romania. He was arrested during a raid by Romanian police in April and eventually released, and there have been no updates on the investigation as of now. However, Tate has previously said that he lives in Romania because, according to him, their laws are more lax when it comes to rape and abuse.

So, why is Tate so popular, so out of the blue? After retiring from kickboxing, Tate began his career as a public figure when he joined the British reality show “Big Brother” in 2016. He was eventually kicked off the show when a video of him hitting his then-girlfriend surfaced on the internet. While they both have said the video was consensual and staged, it still understandably did not sit right with the media and he never returned to the show.

Tate adopted the misogynistic persona he’s known for today shortly after his departure from “Big Brother,” when he began to express his socially problematic opinions on Twitter and YouTube. His content now includes descriptions of violence toward women, claims that cooking food and drinking tap water is for “poor people” and assertions that women are the property of men. He’s stated things like women only exist to breed and please men, women shouldn’t be allowed to drive and that men should be allowed to cheat on women but not vice versa, among many other awful and insulting things.

A lot of the time, when someone like this pops up with objectively bizarre and literally harmful ideals, it can be best to ignore them. Attention feeds notoriety and when someone is not receiving it, they have the potential to go away for good. However, at this point, Tate has gone past this stage and the potential to squash his notoriety is too far gone, so to ignore him would be unproductive.

There’s no doubt that a sort of gender war is happening in the media. Women and men insult each other in various arenas and have a bad habit of making sweeping generalizations about each other, furthering the divide that was originally caused by sexism and gender discrimination. While feminism has its place in society and the plight of women is not to be taken lightly, some ideas can be miscommunicated when emotions are high. Delivery matters when conveying an important message and the content of one’s words is often not enough. In turn, it’s possible that some men might feel as if they’re now the ones being discriminated against and feel silenced and unable to express their opinions on various social issues.

While to an extent, their perceived discrimination may be unfounded, that doesn’t mean their concerns should be ignored. Built resentment can lead to extreme reactions and this is proven by Tate’s popularity. Just like a portion of the working class thought they saw a savior in Donald Trump in 2016, many young men with their apparent feelings of victimhood may believe they see a savior in Andrew Tate.

To avoid extreme reactions from people with perceived feelings of victimhood, their feelings about issues should not be ignored, especially issues that involve them in one way or another. In many cases of discrimination or abuse of power, compromises usually need to be made between the two parties to improve the situation of the person who feels undercut. When so many young men can follow a person like Tate and actually look up to him, it’s imperative to address the needs or concerns that would make them want to listen to someone like Tate in the first place.

Feelings of resentment are fertile seeds that breed invasive weeds and intrude on the smooth sailing of communities. While you can’t always make everyone happy, people generally need to feel like they are being listened to and cared for. Tate has his moments of cliché inspiration and his followers may feel like they’re getting from him what they don’t get from their current communities. It’s time to make sure people feel heard to avoid another Tate in the future; the safety of both men and women depends on it.

 

Writer Profile

Saba Bazzi

Wayne State University
English

Saba is a student and writer who is fueled by coffee and a desire for truth. She navigates the world with a sense of openness and values the power of conversation and written word.

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