'One-stop hate shop': Andrew Tate's rise to TikTok superstardom is fueling violent misogyny and men's rights extremism

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  • Andrew Tate has exploded in popularity in recent months on the back of viral clips and podcasts.

  • An army of his fans has begun posting his videos on TikTok and YouTube, gaining millions of views.

  • Tate has become known for misogyny. One researcher called Tate a "one-stop hate shop."

Scroll TikTok for an hour, and it's almost inevitable you'll come across some mention of Andrew Tate — a video of him offering his opinions on women, fan accounts promoting his online courses, or a meme montage mocking his brand of misogyny-laced hypermasculinity.

The kickboxer-turned-influencer has exploded in visibility in recent months as clips from his YouTube channel or his appearances on popular podcasts have gone viral. Tate has become an icon for a new generation of the "manosphere," gaining millions of followers across social media platforms, and being embraced by men's rights activists and far-right influencers in the process.

Although much of the 35-year-old's content is fairly anodyne — generic tips on self-motivation and wealth that tend to cater to young men — he's become notorious for his misogynistic and violent comments about women. Tate has said he needs authority over women, discussed hitting women, and claimed that rape victims must 'bear some responsibility" for being raped. He has said he doesn't believe men and women are equal, called female self-defense "bullshit," and said women are "incapable of fighting" and only able to "scream and run." In one video, he asserts that 18-year-olds are more attractive than women in their 20s because "they've been through less dick."

It appears there's more of an appetite than ever before for Tate's particular brand of misogyny. He surged from 1 million Instagram followers in early June to over 4.6 million in August, according to the data analytics website SocialBlade. His account grew by 70,000 to 100,000 followers a day in mid-August.

Though Tate hasn't gone super-viral with his own posts on the platform, TikTok has become a primary hub for Tate-related content. Through his online program called "Hustlers University," Tate uses multi-level marketing-like tactics to encourage viewers to join his army of fans. Numerous fan pages have popped up to spread the Tate gospel of hyper-male affirmation — sharing affiliate links to the "university" and contributing to his ubiquity on the platform.

Alexander Reid Ross, an instructor at Portland State University who's spent time researching far-right groups like the Proud Boys, told Insider that Tate "took the 'manosphere' by storm" and has capitalized on social media platforms' shift in recent years towards promoting video content.

"This guy's reach is really expanding, and it's really influencing teenagers," said Ross, who described Tate as a "one-stop hate shop."

Andrew Tate has an extensive history of bigoted comments and controversies offline

Tate, who did not respond to Insider's request for comment, has a history of courting controversy and promoting a misogynistic worldview. He first made headlines during the 2016 season of the British reality show "Big Brother," when he was kicked off of the show after a video surfaced showing him striking a woman with a belt. At the time, Tate said the video was part of a consensual role play with the woman.

In 2017, Tate sparked backlash during the rise of the #MeToo movement for saying rape victims must "bear some responsibility" for putting themselves "in a position to be raped." That same year he tweeted that "depression isn't real" and suggested it was people's own fault if they were "POOR/SAD/FAT/STUPID." Tate's Twitter account has since been suspended.

Andrew Tate 2
Tate has an extensive history of courting controversy, dating back to when he was kicked off the British series of "Big Brother" in 2016.Screenshot/YouTube - TateSpeech

Tate also has links with prominent far-right commentators and conspiracists, including far-right media influencer Paul Joseph Watson and "Pizzagate" conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. Tate has also appeared on Infowars with Alex Jones.

In 2017, despite being a major supporter of former President Donald Trump, Tate moved to Romania. He said in a now-deleted video that Romania's comparatively relaxed sexual assault laws were "40% of the reason" he moved to the country.

But in April, police raided Tate's home in Romania as part of a human-trafficking investigation. Video from the raid showed police officers shoving Tate and his brother into vans, the Daily Beast reported. Romania's Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism told The Daily Beast the raid was part of an investigation into claims that a woman was being held at the Tate house against her will, as well as looking into "crimes of human trafficking and rape." Neither Tristan nor Andrew Tate has been arrested or charged with any crime.

How Tate's videos have taken over the internet

Although Tate has been actively promoting himself online for years, it wasn't until several months ago that he started to reach a new level of popularity. His rise took place mostly on TikTok, where his throng of devotees call him "Top G" and spam comment sections under his videos with "Tate W."

The hashtag "AndrewTate" had over 13 billion views on TikTok as of mid-August, and a hashtag for one of his catchphrases, "escape the matrix," also had over 200 million views. Many of the top videos using the hashtag mock Tate, or gesture at the hypocrisy in some of the comments he's made.

Andrew Tate hashtag
Tate-related content is massively popular on TikTok.Screenshot/TikTok

But there are also many popular videos and accounts — like "frequency.clips," which has 100,000 followers, and "tate_grindset," which has over 130,000 followers — dedicated to spreading Tate's videos and thoughts. Those include him saying he wouldn't perform CPR on someone suffering a heart attack unless they're a "hot female" and suggesting that a woman's genitals belong to her boyfriend.

"A cottage industry of dudes online who are sharing Tate's videos" has sprung up, Ross said, because members of Tate's Hustlers University receive money if they get people to join his program using their proxy.

What is Hustlers University?

The main business that Tate pushes upon viewers is his "Hustlers University," which is a paid online course that launched last year on Discord. His website's landing page for "Hustlers University 2.0" promises a "community where me and dozens of War Room soldiers will teach YOU exactly how to make money."

To join Hustlers University, members pay a $49 monthly fee. They kick off their membership by taking a quiz to determine their availability and how much money they can invest. Each user is put into a specific category with "learning channels" that Tate claims will serve them best. The channels offer advice from "experts" on a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, copywriting, real estate, and stock analysis. Tate claims on his website that every "professor is verified by me personally," and said in early July that the program had over 80,000 members. (Insider could not independently verify that number.)

A number of critics and reviews of the university allege that Hustlers University is a scam, and suggest those praising the program only do so because they promote affiliate links, which earn the poster money if someone decides to join the course.

TikToker Ben Leavitt recently explained how Hustlers University is "a pyramid scheme for sigma males." The video claimed that all members of Hustlers University are "given the opportunity to be an affiliate for the course," which means that a member will make 50% of the fee from people they bring into Hustlers University. Those people will then make 50% of anyone they refer to the course to. In that way, the program functions similarly to a multi-level marketing scheme, where users primarily make money by convincing others to join their network.

Charles Floate, a blogger who said he participated in Hustlers University, reviewed the course and said "it's mostly filled with self-promotions from desperate 20-something males looking to build a personality when they're unsure of who they are and what they want to become, so feed off Tate as their inspiration for who they now are and aspire to be in the future."

Tate recognizes that much of the success of Hustlers University is down to his social media strategy. On a recent podcast with Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy, Tate said he "changed my approach toward social media" earlier this year and "ended up absolutely everywhere. Now people complain that they see me more than they see their own father, and they can't get rid of me."

While he's seemingly unavoidable on TikTok, Tate's content hasn't taken off as much on other platforms, but there are still channels with tens of thousands of subscribers on YouTube centered around propagating his life tips. He recently appeared on multiple popular YouTube podcasts, including NELK, Stand Out TV, and Portnoy — all of whom receive millions of views on their videos.

The sheer speed with which Tate has risen, despite or because of his outre opinions, has inspired other fringe figures, says Ross.

"You have various antisemites and fascists and reactionaries of all sorts and flavors who are looking at what they call 'the Tate phenomenon' and hoping to get in on the action," Ross said.

Tate's success comes despite TikTok's community guidelines

Though Tate does have a TikTok account under the username @CobraTate_Official, the majority of Tate-related clips on the platform do not come from his own account.

Most of Tate's rhetoric appears to break TikTok community guidelines, which prohibit content that "praises, promotes, glorifies, or supports any hateful ideology," including misogyny. The app also bans accounts made for "spam or fake engagement" and "impersonation" but permits profiles that are obviously fan-based.

Several charities in the UK have called for TikTok to do more to tackle Tate's content, including White Ribbon UK, a charity that aims to end violence against women, as well as Rape Crisis England and Wales, and Women's Aid, both of which tackle misogyny and domestic abuse.

Other social media influencers are asking TikTok and other social media platforms to do more to impede the spread of this content. Instagram user Matt Bernstein, who has more than 1.2 million followers and often posts about social justice issues, recently published an infographic describing Tate as "teaching young boys to be violent misogynists."

At the time of writing, Tate's TikTok account is still up and has 400,000 followers, while various other Tate-oriented accounts continue to rack up views in the millions.

Ross worries that beyond promoting misogynistic and offensive opinions, Tate could act as a gateway to more extreme views for those who dabble in the far-right.

Many far-right influencers "look at him and recognize a like-minded soul," Ross said. "It's firmly their hope that people will watch Tate and then they'll expand their horizons into far more hateful, or I should say even more hateful, content."

Read the original article on Insider