Saturday, January 7, 2023 | 2 am
If Andrew Tate is anyone’s ideal of masculinity, we have a bigger problem than I thought.
Aside from all the misogyny, racism, homophobia and classism that the kickboxing champion and internet huckster has embraced as his brand, he’s just such a crybaby.
Seriously. Whenever something goes wrong in Tate’s life – such as when he was removed from all major social media platforms last year for saying, among other things, that women bear “some responsibility” for rape or when, more recently, he and his brother Tristan were arrested in Romania in connection with human trafficking and rape allegations, he moans that there is an interplanetary conspiracy against him.
He moved to Romania five years ago, he said, because he was tired of those countries where women could accuse men of assault and rape and, you know, be believed.
As it turns out, Romania is also one of those countries. Not that he sees it that way. “The Matrix attacked me,” Tate said as he was led from his home.
That is correct. Andrew Tate, a self-anointed alpha male who believes that anyone who isn’t rich is a loser and that women should never try to compete with men, doesn’t even have the guts to come up with his own conspiracy theory. Instead, he stole it from a series of movies. That was done, I just have to add, by two trans women.
But then exploiting women is Tate’s chosen profession. His fame and alleged fortune is built on the abuse, physical and otherwise, of women.
In 2016, he was kicked off ‘Big Brother’ when a video surfaced in which he appeared to hit a woman with a belt and shout abuse at her. (He later said it was a consensual act edited to make him look bad.) Then he and his brother started a webcam business in which Tate described himself as a “prostitute.” Re-cam pimp.
Somewhere along the line, he decided that the Matrix was real, and that he was the only person who could lead his (male) followers into “the real world”, where they would dominate by subjugating women and making a lot of money from the internet. .
He himself makes money from his fans through Hustler’s University, a $49-a-month get-rich-quick program that “teaches” men to crack the Matrix and make big bucks through Amazon side gigs, freelance copyediting and, of course, a website. -cam pimping.
If it sounds crazy that “Big Brother” reject-turned-webcam-prostitute-turned-complicated would be anything more than a cautionary tale, there’s one thing Tate is actually good at: Training young men to follow in his footsteps with a hypnotic brew of alpha-. male fantasy and teenage “stop telling me what to do, mom” complaint.
Clearly tapping into white male paranoia that has fueled the rise of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and transphobia (not to mention the January 6 riots), Tate is rigorously and relentlessly provocative. When he’s not flexing his cash, cars, abs and cigars or talking about his fitness routine or all the millionaires he’ll be messaging, he’s whining endlessly about how hard men have it, about how people don’t understand that the world – the Matrix. – enslaves them.
His rage – which only wails with the volume turned up – is aimed at young men who feel confused, angry or undervalued. Young people are easily persuaded to feel that a diverse, just and tolerant society will deprive them of status, that their behavior is censured not because it is violent or violent but because it is masculine.
Young people who also want cash, cars, abs and cigars, and believe Tate when he says they can have all these things and more by rejecting 21st-century social norms.
Before he was removed from most social media platforms, many parents, educators, women and non-brainwashed young men expressed concern that Tate’s ruthless male supremacy marked a fever from the manosphere – online male communities that promote sexism, including violence against women. (One of the first notable groups hosted on Reddit was the Red Pill, another “Matrix” reference, so Tate may not have removed his conspiracy theory from the movies; he could have just gotten it from Reddit.)
Predatory behavior comes in many forms online: non-consensual webcam conversations; requests for nude photos that are then shared; adults posing as teenagers to engage in exploitative and illicit “relationships”; revenge porn
But there is also psychological exploitation, the kind that can draw a young man into a terrorist cell, steal his identity or twist ordinary insecurity into paranoid delusions that women (or Jews or immigrants or whoever) are the enemy.
That’s what Andrew Tate has done, and profited from, all these years. That’s what Elon Musk recently allowed to return to Twitter.
But sometimes irony wins. Tate’s arrest might have slipped under the cultural radar had it not come so quickly on the heels of a brief Twitter war with climate activist Greta Thunberg.
A few days ago, Tate offered to email Thunberg a list of all his purported sports cars and their emission rates. Thunberg told him that he could reach her at a young age—[email protected] Tate made a remarkably childish video to tell her that she’s the one with the little d— and that he won’t recycle the two pizza boxes in front of him.
When he and his brother were arrested the next day, many people theorized that the pizzeria tags led Romanian police to his house.
It wasn’t true, but before he got involved with Thunberg, a lot of people didn’t know who Tate was. That’s why all those explainers on platforms including this one. Now we’re all watching. Not in “join Hustler University now!” road More in a “Wait, are you the kind of guy who follows Andrew Tate” kind of way.
On the other hand, it gave Thunberg what Tate craves most: The last word: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”
If you’re looking for a real definition of masculinity, this is good enough: Real men recycle.
Mary McNamara is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.