TikTok is facing calls to remove Andrew Tate videos. Photo / Instagram / @cobratate
If you’re a TikTok user, you’ve no doubt discovered Andrew Tate’s content over the past month.
Images of the 35-year-old are all over the platform’s For You page, racking up more than 11.6 billion views – in July more people Googled his name than those of Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump.
Tate, a former kickboxer and Big Brother competitor, markets himself as a self-help guru, offering his mostly male fans a recipe for making money and “attracting” women. In recent weeks, however, he has been hailed by some as “the scariest man on the internet”.
In clips shared on TikTok, Tate argues that women ‘belong at home’, ‘can’t drive’ and are ‘a man’s property’ – if they’ve been raped they should ‘take some responsibility’ .
His opinions are as misogynistic as they are unoriginal. And yet, as White Ribbon Australia country manager Allan Ball told news.com.au, Tate’s meteoric rise from near obscurity to stardom “was no accident”.
Instead, it is a coordinated effort, involving thousands of members of the private British-American online academy, Hustler’s University, who have been told, according to evidence obtained by The Observer, to flooding social media with Tate’s most controversial videos to get maximum views and engagement.
In less than three months, Tate’s “blatant attempt to manipulate the algorithm” (as one pundit put it) earned him a huge online following and potentially made him millions of pounds, with more than 127 000 members – many of them men and boys, some as young as 13, from the US and UK – paying £39 ($73) a month to be part of its “War Room”.
What is Hustler University?
Launched in 2021, Tate describes Hustler University as “a community where you’ll have access to stock analysis, options gaming, crypto analysis, DeFi, e-commerce, writing, freelancing, flipping, real estate, financial planning, affiliate marketing, business management and more”.
On the site’s homepage, short videos of exotic cars, yachts full of women, and Tate smoking a cigar with her friends play under bold text that promises the program will “transform your financial life” and help you. to “become financially free”. the person”.
Members are told they can earn up to £10,000 ($17,240) a month by following its supposed steps to success (although some who have signed up for Tate’s ‘courses’ say the information that they contain could be found just as easily online for free).
They can also make money by referring others, receiving a 48% commission for each person they refer. And to have the best chance of getting people to sign up, they are advised to stir up controversy to improve their chances of going viral.
In a Hustler University guide, “students” are told that attracting “comment and controversy” is the key to success.
“What you want ideally is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters,” advises Tate.
“You want arguments, you want war.”
Tate’s requirements that members “be male” and “prove themselves” in order to stay on the network, Lucy Cocoran pointed out in an article this week for Marie Claire, “read like a cult.”
“Tate’s dangerous beliefs are readily available to anyone who feels even remotely aligned with his philosophy,” she added.
“Even if his followers are only there to make money, they will inevitably be indoctrinated by his sexist beliefs as well.”
Ball agreed, telling news.com.au that “really” what Tate is doing is “choosing predatory behaviors by profiting from promoting ‘rape culture’ and violence against women to a global audience of mostly young men, many in their early teens.”
The repackaged videos making the rounds on TikTok, in which Tate says he respects former US President Trump for ‘grabbing bitches by the pussy’ or only dating women aged 18 at 19 because he can “make an imprint” on them, not from Tate himself.
Despite the fact that TikTok’s terms explicitly say they ban accounts that “impersonate” someone else, using their name or photo in a “misleading” way, the hundreds of accounts sharing the clips do just that. .
“TikTok and all social media platforms must stop spreading user content that is full of hate, contempt and misogyny,” Ball said.
“Is this the kind of man our men and boys – our fathers, husbands, brothers, cousins and nephews – aspire to be? Is this the shorts of the culture our social media platforms want to support?
“I suspect not, but whether they realize it or not, as long as TikTok remains silent on this issue, it is in fact giving consent.”
He added that “the use of gambling, extreme bravado and music [in the videos] covers its deplorable actions with a filter of normality”.
“Impressive young minds are drawn to money, power and unshakable confidence, to be part of a tribe,” he said.
“We need to reframe Tate’s comment and ask the hard questions to better understand what young men think are the pros and cons of holding these beliefs.
“We need to share messages of equality, respect and ways to work together to end the violence – hate and abuse don’t have a monopoly on what constitutes viral content.
“If Tate’s body of hateful, demeaning and misogynistic musings isn’t enough for TikTok to take action, then we must work together as a community to provide young men with another perspective of respect, compassion and equality.”
A spokesperson for TikTok Australia said the platform was “working to review this content and take action against breaches of our guidelines”.
“We are continually looking to strengthen our policies and enforcement strategies, including adding more safeguards to our recommendation system, as part of our work to make TikTok a safe and inclusive space for our community.”
Sexual Abuse – Where to Get Help
If it is an emergency and you think you or someone else is in danger, call 111.
If you have ever been the victim of sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, anytime, 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more information or to chat visit safetotalk.nz
You can also contact your local police station – click here for a list.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, remember that it’s not your fault.