How do you solve a problem like Andrew Tate?
Andrew Tate has been in the news a lot recently, notably for having an online spat with Greta Thunberg and being in a Romanian prison on charges of human trafficking. An ex-kickboxer, he came to fame as a contestant on Big Brother and over the last year or so has rapidly amassed a huge following on social media with extreme misogynistic views.
He also established Hustler University, which describes itself as a “community where me and dozens of experts will teach YOU exactly how to make money.” He also uses it to encourage the 127,000 members, who pay £39 a month for his ‘wisdom’, to flood the internet with his more controversial videos to boost engagement and his following. Some of those videos see him posing with cigars and fast cars, others see him talking about choking and hitting women, destroying their possessions and stopping them from going out.
He’s been banned from almost all social media platforms for his misogynistic content, but nevertheless, his strategy has led to him being one of the most searched-for people on the internet. In July last year, there were more google searches for his name than for Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian. His Tik Tok videos, before they were taken down, had been viewed more than 11.6 billion times.
What’s he doing now?
Currently, Andrew Tate is in prison awaiting a verdict on his trafficking charges, but he still has significant influence. His empire is still tweeting on his behalf and of course, the Hustler University is still operating. It would appear that one of his employees has regular contact with him and communicates on his behalf.
He is adamant that the charges against him are trumped up and just this week he announced that he will be leaving £100 million in his will to support and protect men from false accusations. It’s a continuation of his narrative that bad women work to bring down good men and that rape victims must ‘bear responsibility’ for their attacks.
"...for many boys he represents much of what they admire - wealth, fame, success - and that this enables his message to creep into their psyche."
Critically, his influence is still malevolent, and the other newspaper headlines surrounding him are of teachers scrabbling to create lesson plans to combat his teaching. They recognise that for many boys he represents much of what they admire - wealth, fame, success - and that this enables his message to creep into their psyche.
Essentially, he is radicalising young men and recruiting them to join his anti-women movement. Luring them with the promise of wealth, success and, of course, power.
What can we do?
It’s great that schools are rallying to respond, but the reality is that parents have a greater influence over their children than teachers. A teacher might spend an hour or two a week with our child, whilst parents spend a lifetime with them. Difficult and awkward as these conversations might seem, I can’t stress how important it is that we have them. The Andrew Tates of this world speak into the void in our young people’s lives. If we’re not talking to them about relationships and sex then he, and others like him, will.
Where to start:
It can seem daunting, but here are some easy ways to age-appropriately talk to your children:
- Ask your child if they know who Andrew Tate is and let them talk through what they think without jumping in and telling them what to think. Ask gentle questions to challenge their opinions if necessary.
- Talk about other male role models. Compare them, and discuss what is admirable about them and what isn’t.
- Talk about the algorithms that serve up social media content. Discuss the fact that sensational, emotional content gets pushed into news feeds because it draws engagement, but that doesn’t make it true or good.
- Encourage them to question what they read and see online, especially if it’s something that has been pushed into their timeline.
- Have a conversation about stereotypes. Do they ever feel contained by them? What do they think it would be like to be hated because of their gender/race/ability etc?
Creating a culture of consent with your children
At Restored, we believe that the only way to end Violence Against Women and Girls is to raise a new generation of young men and women determined to live differently, and we’re sure that starts at home.
We’re running a webinar for parents to think more about the influence that you have and to give some more top tips to raising your children to change the culture around them.