Internet personality Andrew Tate has had to make a new Twitter account to avoid suspension from the platform three separate times due to his content. Though it is unclear when it occurred, Tate has since been permanently banned from the platform. And, as of August, his social media ban has extended to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
Tate is a former kickboxer, who was briefly a contestant on “Big Brother” in 2016 but was removed from the show following homophobic and racist tweets, as well as a leaked video of him hitting a woman with a belt — an act he says was consensual, but that still upset many.
That information was known to few before this year, when Tate’s content blew up on social media, specifically on TikTok. His TikToks were receiving millions of views, and he had a following of 4.6 million on Instagram and over 740,000 YouTube subscribers.
According to first-year student Connor Johnston, Tate’s content was almost inescapable.
“I used to see it all the time. It would be, like, every Instagram post and every five TikToks would be Andrew Tate,” Johnston said.
So, what’s the big deal? What kind of content was he creating and posting?
One of Tate’s most infamous tweets, which got his first known account suspended from Twitter in 2017 and was posted in response to the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault cases, stated, “If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must [bear] some responsibility. I’m not saying it’s OK you got raped.” In the same thread he added, “stop pretending normal male behavior is rape.”
To sophomore Stephanie Hamel, who is a survivor of sexual assault, that comment was “absolutely horrid” and “disgusting.”
“Sexual assault is a very big issue and already has plenty of stigma as is, especially for, like, how girls dress or anything like that. If they were intoxicated,” Hamel said. “I think that’s incredibly damaging to teach men.”
Tate has come under fire for many things, including his comments in a (since-deleted) video in which he claims that part of the reason he moved to Romania is because it is more difficult to be convicted of sexual assault.
“I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want,” Tate said. Currently, he and his brother are under investigation by Romanian authorities for allegations of rape and human trafficking, according to The Guardian.
In addition to that, Tate has also made comments about how he prefers 18- to 19-year-old girls because they’ve “been through less dick” and been quoted as saying, “Why would you be with a woman who’s not a virgin anyway? She is used goods,” as well as, “I think my sister is her husband’s property, yes,” adding that this stance has been “largely accepted by society forever.”
“We’re being degraded like it’s 100 years ago and it’s really sad because young boys of this generation are going to grow up and have that mindset,” Hamel said.
And the impact this might have on young men is of concern to Johnston as well.
“It’s very worrying to me, because I know how impressionable I was as a young kid,” he said. “That’s frightening for the future generation because of how many of them have access to the technologies and the social media sites he’s being posted on.”
Although Johnston disapproves of Tate’s content, he does view Tate as a “character” who “over exaggerates who he is as a person, and probably some of his beliefs, too.”
That sentiment is shared by one Tate fan, who, in an anonymous comment posted on YikYak in Castleton, said, “It’s funny seeing how easily he trolled millions of softies just by throwing emphasis and emotion into some of his statements, which are valid most of the time just exaggerated and misunderstood.”
Junior Stone Stelzl views Tate’s persona as a publicity tactic.
“I think the stuff he says is absolutely outrageous, but I think he knows what he’s doing and is doing it all for publicity and is trying to grow his business and his image, whether it’s good or bad,” said Stelzl.
And Tate has certainly succeeded in growing his image. Despite Tate’s own social media ban, accounts dedicated to posting his content still exist. The Instagram account @andrewtatefan reposts clips of him and currently has 22.3K followers.
“Hate him or Love [sic] him, Andrew Tate’s social media [being] taken down is the most anti-democratic thing that [sic] trending right now. They violated his freedom of speech,” a fan commented on one of their posts.
Whether or not this was an infringement of Tate’s rights has been heavily debated following his removal from social media.
“It’s not free speech, it’s hate speech,” Professor Sam Davis-Boyd said in response to this.
And to her, Andrew Tate’s popularity only speaks to a larger issue.
“Yes, we can get rid of one person, but there’s still these millions of people that are thinking this way,” Davis-Boyd said. “How do we create a cultural change or shift with the, predominantly, young men that are following Andrew Tate and what he says and buying into his hate?”