Trigger warning: sexual assault/violence, homophobia, grooming etc.
Yes we get it.
Parents telling their sons not to watch something will often have the exact opposite effect.
But while most sane people will roll their eyes at good old-fashioned moral panics around Elvis’s hip movements or NWA’s anti-Police rap anthem, sometimes you do have to agree with the rising anger and ask yourself – do I really want my son listening to this?
Vile, despicable, rotten and terrifying are just a handful of keywords we pulled from 80,000 odd comments on an Instagram post by mattxiv about the internet’s latest villain – Andrew Tate.
So who is Tate, and why has he gone so viral?
‘Women are men’s property’
Andrew ‘Cobra’ Tate is a former kickboxing champion, entrepreneur, and content creator whose “violently misogynistic, homophobic videos” have spread across TikTok and Instagram over the past few weeks.
At this point, if you’re a social media user chances are you’ve seen him pop up on your feed in some capacity (whether you wanted him to or not).
In the infamous videos, Tate claims women to be men’s property and that victims of sexual assault should “bear some responsiblility” for their attacks.
He also claims to prefer to date 18 year olds because “they’ve been through less dick” than older women, and that he’d refuse to give CPR to a man because “that would be gay”.
We know, right? Yuck.
And the potential influence he’s having on Gen Z boys – who are his target audience – is downright terrifying. Because he walks his talk.
“Andrew Tate is not just another edgy misogynist on the internet – he’s also one in real life,” influencer mattxiv explains.
“He’s been under investigation for sex trafficking and rape in Romania, where he lives. In one video, he explained that 40% of his reason to move to Romania was that Romanian police were less likely to pursue sexual assault allegations than police in the US.”
Pardon our curiosity, but what was the other 60% then?
But okay. Surely social media channels like TikTok would be doing something to take these videos down, right?
“Videos of Andrew Tate have been viewed 11.6 billion times on TikTok alone. Many of them violate community guidelines, but aren’t being taken down,” mattxiv continued.
“Why? Because views generate profit for TikTok, so they will continue to push these videos onto the feeds of young men, regardless of the real-world consequences that online misogyny can have.”
The thing is, we know what happens when we let misogyny rage online unchecked as Hunter Moore did a decade ago.
“We don’t need a documentary in 10 years about the rise and fall of Andrew Tate and how we should’ve known better,” someone commented.
Because we do know better. And our boys and girls deserve better.
So what’s it going to be for social media companies spreading his vile videos – revenue or the safety of their users? Facebook and Instagram have since banned Tate while TikTok has said it is removing his videos reposted by his followers.
Tate told England’s Observer that “internet sensationalism” had “purported the idea that I’m anti women when nothing could be further from the truth.”
“It is very unfortunate that old videos of me, where I was playing a comedic character, have been taken out of context and amplified to the point where people believe absolutely false narratives about me,” he said.
“I am genuinely innocent. I truly believe God will prevail.”
You’d have to say his act is very convincing. And therein lies the problem. Acting or not, not all teenagers swiping across his brand of humour will realise it’s allegedly meant to be comedy. As a result, the effect is the same as if he meant every word he said.
But what parents can do is role model respectful behaviour with and around women and girls so young males seeing Tate’s “comedy” laugh at him, not with him.
The question is though, are they really the laughs Tate was going for? Or was he really going for laughs at all?