The terrifying rise and inevitable fall of Andrew Tate

The average person would never predict that a Big Brother star could eventually become one of the most radical, polarizing people on the planet. Yet, Andrew Tate, the self-proclaimed lifestyle guru and social media star, became one of the most Googled people in 2022, as well as one of the most hated.

His internet persona has been spotlighted in the media over the past few weeks due to his recent arrest in connection to a rape and human trafficking investigation in Romania. Since then, Tate’s arrest sparked a conversation about his outward influence and why so many subscribed to his disputable content in the first place.

Tate gained popularity on the internet over the past year due to his controversial opinions about women, along with tips for a primarily male fan base on how to make money and attract women. 

His advice on women and dating consists of extremely misogynistic opinions. An example of these statements is when he said he would “bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck,” if a woman ever cheated on him. Additionally, he has said things like rape victims should “bear responsibility” for their assault, women belong in the kitchen and that he prefers to date women ages 18 and 19 because they’re “easier to make an imprint on.”

“He feeds people who are my age and younger a type of philosophical junk feed that emphasizes selfishness, narcissism and a general lack of compassion,” said junior Liam Murphy-Killings. 

Despite his controversial content, Tate still managed to rack up 11.6 billion views on TikTok, leading to a surge of impressionable viewers consuming his content at rapid rates. Although many despise Tate, he has 5.7 million  TikTok followers who view his thoughts as correct and abide by his advice and opinions.

Many of these supporters are teenage boys and young men who also subscribe to his online academy called “Hustler’s University,” which has “professors” coaching around 200,000 young men on how to get rich and seduce women. His program costs $50 a month, and he has convinced 110,000 followers to pay for his professional advice.

Loyola associate professor of marketing Jenna Drenten recalls her familiarity of Tate to be not a particularly fond depiction.

He sort of spearheads a movement of people who subscribe to a misogynistic, outlandish, outrageous lifestyle, and he’s motivated a lot of people,” Drenten said. “I would say he’s the king of clickbait because even if he’s not posting his content, other people are posting his content, and even individuals that don’t follow him want to know what’s going on and what the hype is about.” 

Much of the general public, like brothers Liam and Martin Murphy-Killings, are appalled by his success and how many fall for his manipulative and deceiving tactics. 

“I was made aware of him through a few YouTube videos that I watched, and unfortunately through a friend of mine who got indoctrinated into the cult,”  junior Martin Murphy-Killings said.

This narrative has been incredibly common with young men, especially since that is Tate’s target audience. Liam also mentioned a friend who abides by Tate’s word.

“He looks down on women in a lot of ways these days when he was not used to. It’s depressing to watch,” said Liam Murphy-Killings.

How is it that Tate is able to convince so many people to follow him, and what is it that people find so credible about his word?

“He starts with a few basic truths, such as ‘it’s not good to feel alone,’ or ‘some men feel like they can’t get a date,’ which is true for some people. It’s the small truths that they feed you at the beginning and then they say the crazy sh*t, but someone down the line will say ‘well, he was right about that, so he might be right about this,’” Martin Murphy-Killings said.

Drenten agrees with Martin Murphy-Killings, as they both state that Tate has allowed for a spiral of negative information to land in the hands of impressionable young minds.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly compelling or charismatic or special about him,” Drenten said. “I think it’s more of the cultural time that he came to be, or saw his rise. I think if it wouldn’t have been Andrew Tate, it would have been someone else, and It’s really less about him as an individual.” Said Drenten.

Drenten describes Tate’s influence to be a catalyst for many young men to express controversial opinions without accepting the responsibility for the damage of their words.

“I think it’s less about the creator himself and more about the followers, and the situation was sort of ripe for him to be able to have this platform and take off among followers,” Drenten said. “It enabled all of these young men to say what they wanted to say, and point to him as the person they learned it from.”

With how radical and polarizing Tate’s content continues to be, many wonder why social media platforms such as TikTok stopped trying to ban Tate, or remove his profile. His content is against community guidelines and breaches the policies many of these sites use as their foundation.

“The challenge with Andrew Tate is that he’s posting content in other places,” Drenten said. “Even if he’s not posting on TikTok, he’s posting elsewhere and then that content gets reposted or regurgitated by his followers. So then you have this army of individuals who are doing the dirty work for him. When we talk about things like deplatforming, it only works if all the platforms agree and there’s nowhere for this person to have an outlet.”

“I don’t think banning solves anything. In fact, you just feed into the cult. What he says is that they’re going to silence him, and when you have a company that actually takes him off the website, what does that look like? They silenced him,” Martin said.

The platform did remove Tate at one point, but it only made things worse. Tate was vocally unsettled about the censorship, and felt as though he was silenced. Meanwhile, his followers continued reposting his content and supporting his content.

“They did ban him, and it didn’t solve anything,” Martin Martin-Killings said. “It didn’t take away his platform. In fact, it made it bigger. He got more money, he became more wealthy, and he just started to become worse because his fans looked at that and said ‘See? They were right. He was right, they did try to silence him.’” 

His recent arrest in Romania for trafficking disturbed many, but surprised few. The type of person that Tate has shown to be is directly in line with these allegations and has opened the door for a conversation on how the general public let it get this far. 

“The best way to talk about this is earnestly and honestly,” Martin Murphy-Killings said. “And at some point, I think you have to acknowledge that some people are going to be lost causes, and some people are going to be so stupid that they side with him no matter what you say. Even if there is someone you can save, I think it’s worth talking about it.”