Content warning: This article contains references to sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
If you’ve suddenly found yourself seeing and hearing the name Andrew Tate everywhere recently, you’re not alone.
With over 4.5 million Instagram followers, over 11 billion views on TikTok and more Google searches than Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump combined last month, Tate’s meteoric rise to fame has been swift. But it’s his violent, sexist and homophobic content that has so many people worried and calling for the 35-year-old to be de-platformed.
So who is Andrew Tate and how did someone facing multiple sexual assault charges and claiming to prefer teenage girls to adult women become the most searched man on the internet? Here’s everything you need to know.
Why Is Andrew Tate So Controversial?
Like a lot of social media stars (ahem, Joe Rogan and Jordan Petersen, we’re looking at you), it’s Andrew Tate’s controversial views and willingness to say abhorrent and often factually incorrect things that very few others will have seen him rise to prominence.
Among the most viewed videos are those in which he declares offering lifesaving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to another man would be “gay”, that he finds 19-year-olds more attractive than a woman in her 20s “because they’ve been through less d**k… She’s fresh and I can put my imprint on her and make her a good person,” and that sexual assault and rape victims should “bear some responsibility” in the crimes committed against them.
In another video, Tate enacts hitting a person, saying, “slap, slap, grab, choke, shut up b**ch, sex,” in a way that suggests sex is the natural progression from hitting, choking and abusing someone.
Tate also says women should not be allowed to drive and that women are the property of their husbands, telling one podcast host who raised the topic, “the whole world agreed that the woman belongs to the man when she decides to give herself to a man.”
Where Did He Come From?
Having grown up in the US and UK, Tate was a professional kickboxer and Big Brother participant before moving to social media.
While on Big Brother in 2016, Tate was removed from the house when footage of him hitting a woman with a belt was made public (Tate claims the encounter was consensual). Later, a video of Tate instructing a woman to count the bruises he had inflicted on her also emerged, which he again claimed was a consensual encounter.
Just one year later, Tate faced 11 charges from UK Police, some of which related to sexual assault. Now living between Romania and the Middle East, Tate says he finds it “offensive that a police officer in England will stop me and refuse to take a bribe.”
In a recent video filmed in the Middle East with his brother Tristan, Tate declared “the Tate brothers will restore purity to the females of the earth.” (Tate also has a sister who has very reasonably estranged herself from the brothers).
Most recently in April of this year, Romanian police raided Tate’s mansion as part of an ongoing investigation into human trafficking, a crime the late Jeffrey Epstein was also accused of, so… there’s that.
The raid is likely to have seriously offended Tate, who had earlier said one of his motivations for moving to the Eastern European nation was because the country’s authorities were less likely to pursue sexual assault allegations than other countries.
Is He Really a Trillionaire as He Says He Is?
The short answer is no but Tate is estimated to be worth around US$250 hundred million thanks to his Youtube Channel and multi-level marketing service, Hustlers University, in which fans of Tate pay $49 USD per month to take Tate-approved courses on topics like business success. Once enrolled, students can receive discounted rates if they successfully enrol a friend.
Tate and his brother have also made money from webcam services in which young models would rick men into sending tens of thousands of dollars to an account operated by Andrew and Tristan, which honestly sounds as dodgy and nefarious as you’d expect (and kind of like fraud) and probably not the kind of educational tools that should be taught to other young men for $50 a month, but sure.
What’s Being Done About His Content, If Anything?
Social media companies are facing sustained pressure to remove Tate from their platforms as more damaging content emerges and legal allegations continue to emerge.
On Instagram, Tate mostly keeps his content within bounds by sharing pictures of his luxury car collection and smoking cigars, and videos of him performing topless nunchuck routines on yachts.
TikTok, however, has acknowledged the issue, with a spokesperson telling the Daily Mail that “misogyny and other hateful ideologies and behaviours are not tolerated on TikTok and we are working to review this content and take action against violations of our guidelines.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or head to The Australian Human Rights Commission for a list of state by state resources.