According to Sydney student Ben Smith, Andrew Tate is exactly the role model his generation needs.
The 19-year-old started following the self-proclaimed “self-help guru” – whose violent and misogynistic videos have amassed more than 11.6 billion views on TikTok – for his takes on relationships and success.
“He just says it like it is. It’s like, he doesn’t worry about what people think about him,” Smith told The Oz.
“He just says what he wants to say.”
Comments under news.com.au’s own coverage of the former big brother contestant and kickboxer’s rise to infamy have echoed a similar sentiment.
“Tate is KING!!! He’s exposing the corrupt, the matrix styled control system and pathetic elite ruling class,” declared one, while another called for “Andrew Tate for PM”.
“Pushing back against all the crazy feminists,” said a third.
“Love him or hate him, he is making bank on leftist outrage. For that he deserves a salute. Not that I would want my son watching or emulating him.”
It seems incomprehensible that the views espoused by Tate – that rape victims “must bear some responsibility” for their attacks; or that women should be choked by their male partners and stopped from going out – could be perceived as anything but vile.
Yet men around the world – especially young ones in western nations – are not just resonating with the content creator, but making TikTok accounts using Tate’s picture and name to further perpetuate his message.
“It’s in the interests of men to return [Tate’s] views, because they serve the status quo power, and reinforces the idea that women are there to serve men,” FullStop Australia CEO Hayley Foster told The Oz.
“Perpetuating these views results in them having more access to power and using women for their own purposes.”
Teachers from an all-boys secondary school shared with New Zealand’s Shit You Should Care About podcast last week that Tate “is becoming an almost poisonous addiction” of their students.
“The majority of our students, especially the juniors, are OBSESSED with him and the outlandish views he portrays,” they wrote.
“What’s more terrifying is they actually see him as a role model. They’re starting to genuinely believe being successful is synonymous with abusing women.”
The school’s 13- to 15-year-old students “are doing speeches at the moment and they all want to do speeches on how inspiring he is”, the teachers added.
While in the playground, and around the classroom, they’d overheard boys parroting Tate’s points of view – that “women who are sexually assaulted are ‘asking for it’ due to ‘what they wear’”, that “some women ‘dress like hookers’”, and that “if a woman has had abortions already she loses the right to use the statement ‘her body her choice’”.
“[We] just wanted to fill you all in on the genuine terror that your young female teachers are most likely facing at the moment. Especially if a school refuses to acknowledge it as a community issue,” they said.
“We know we cannot control what our boys watch but we do want to educate them on moral decisions and viewpoints due to the poignant age they are at.”
Off the back of a segment about Tate on The Project on Sunday night, radio host and former reality TV star Abbie Chatfield said she’d “absolutely” seen evidence of the British-American’s influence in her own experiences online of late.
“I’m getting DMs from what appear to be early-teen boys saying, ‘I hope Andrew Tate destroys you’, or things along that line,” the 27-year-old said.
“I also get comments calling me ‘Abbie Tate’, and comments on TikTok especially. That’s where it’s really, really rife.”
Fellow co-host Rachel Corbett called out the social media platform for failing to remove Tate’s “dangerous” content.
“When kids look at Instagram and TikTok, and the idea of 11.6 billion views as a success, that then says, ‘Well those views must be good, because they look at how famous he is. So I want to emulate that.’ It’s just really dangerous,” she said.
As National Director of White Ribbon Australia, Allan Ball, explained to news.com.au, “the use of gaming, extreme bravado and music [in the videos of Tate] overlays his deplorable actions with a filter of normalcy”.
“Impressionable young minds are drawn in by money, power and unwavering confidence, to become part of a tribe,” he said.
Behavioral scientist Juliette Tobias-Webb agreed, telling The Oz that figures like Tate attract younger audiences specifically because they’re prone to risky behaviour, and are less likely to understand the consequences of their actions.
“It’s a stage when you haven’t had serious relationships or you probably haven’t been held accountable for really poor behaviour,” Dr Tobias-Webb said.
“They haven’t developed the empathy skills and that inhibition to sort of curb some of these urges.”
Mr Ball said that “we need to reframe Tate’s commentary and ask the hard questions to better understand what young men believe are the benefits and drawbacks of having these beliefs”.
“We need to be sharing messages of equality, respect and the ways we can work together to stop violence – hate and abuse don’t have a monopoly on what constitutes viral content,” he added.
“If Tate’s body of hateful, demeaning and misogynistic musings are not sufficient for TikTok to act, then we must work together as a community to provide young men with an alternate lens of respect, compassion and equality.”