A Toxic Culture

Andrew Tate’s dangerous message of misogyny undermines victims of sexual assault.

Ryan Walters, Staff Writer

Nolan Zils/Bear Witness

The arrest in December 2022 of Andrew Tate, the poster man for hyper-masculinity, aroused mass polarization on social media, as comment sections were rich in people preaching terms such as “Free Tate” or “Innocent until proven guilty”. 

Even before the arrest of Tate, when he truly boomed in late 2022, in the school atmosphere, I noticed a deep transformation in the demeanors of a number of the teenage male students. Students would be watching his videos during class, during breaks in huddles of people cheering and praising in a trance-like state to everything he said, especially when it came to when he talked about how teenage girls would act. 

Tate had been too powerful of an influence on these boys, as, for example, when a well known celebrity would be accused of sexual assault or rape, Tate would be quick to defend the side of the oppressor. Instead of ridiculing those for committing these actions, like these same boys would have done five years ago, they’re now dismissing and even praising these men for fitting Tate’s ideal of a “man’s man”, where they should be able to “control their woman.”  

What was especially alarming to me is that some thousands of comments on a post, made by @rap on Instagram which covered his initial arrest, were voicing these things despite Tate and his brother Tristan being arrested on the premises of human trafficking and the rape of potentially multiple women in Romania. 

Tate rose to fame on Tiktok and Instagram in late 2022 following a stint on Big Brother UK in 2016, where he was kicked off the show after physically assaulting a woman contestant with a belt, which gave some sort of evidence to point that he could have very well been capable of committing actions such as human trafficking or rape. 

Further evidence to back this up can be found diving into some of the things he has actually said in viral clips, according to examples collected by The Guardian, such as “rape victims must ‘bear responsibility’ for putting themselves in the position [to be raped]”. In another case, when an ex-girlfriend of Tate accused him of physically assaulting her (different from the contestant he assaulted on Big Brother UK), he denied the allegations, yet decided to call her a “dumb h*e” for even attempting to accuse him. 

What I found especially fascinating about his case is that early in 2022, just before he had risen to worldwide infamy, his mansion in Romania was raided by police under the suspicion that he had held a 21 year old woman against her will. With all of the tweets or quotes he’s voiced on various social media platforms, it’s incredible to me how long it actually took the Romanian Police to actually arrest him. While there wasn’t an abundance of hard evidence to suggest human trafficking or rape actually occurred, there was certainly an abundance of evidence to suggest those actions may have been committed by Tate based off of his previous actions and demeanors about women and relationships online.

Though at the same time, it makes sense why Tate got off in many cases nearly scott-free, as he had earned easily six figures a year during his time kickboxing, and nowadays reportedly earns anywhere from $10,000-$80,000 USD a month from his YouTube channel and collabing with other podcasts. 

Tate had the financial might to either make settlements or hire the best lawyers to win cases with ease, even if much of the evidence played against him. Tate was defended by many right-winged celebrities such as Tucker Carlson because Tate and Carlson have one major aspect about their businesses in common: they gain notoriety and therefore fame by spewing controversy out of everything they say, and if Carlson decides to defend Tate, FoxNews are going to continue to accrue massive amounts of wealth because of the revenue generated from the aforementioned notoriety. 

That is, businesses such as FoxNews seem not to care about if Tate has committed these heinous actions, or take his case seriously, as long as they generate fame and popularity for the company. 

On average, according to the Department of Justice, while the rate of violent victimization crimes has decreased significantly since 1993, just over 1% of sexual assault and rape cases actually end up in the conviction of the oppressors.

Sexual violation comes in all forms and shapes. Yet the fact influence by those with physical power or that of a talking head online can shift how people approach sexual assault cases is nothing short of alarming, and will only continue to discourage victims to come forward against their oppressors and come to terms with their trauma.