The rise and fall of Andrew Tate
History has always provided a plethora of fragile male egos, but in the past few years, certain toxic figures have become hot-button topics.
It would not be unsurprising to name Andrew Tate as the 21st century’s leader of controversial men on the Internet. But after his arrest for human trafficking charges on Dec. 29, Tate’s time in the spotlight might not be so sweet anymore.
Tate first became known through his kickboxing career and his eviction from the UK Big Brother house in 2016: a video of him beating a woman with a belt and calling her a “wh*re” surfaced online.
Despite the obvious depiction of his abusive tendencies, Tate had an unprecedented rise to fame. His self-help guru persona, advocating for hard work and supposed masculinity traced with blatant threads of misogyny, has rapidly grown in popularity.
Adopting the title of “top G”, a term Tate’s chess grandmaster father coined to describe someone who is “capable in all realms”, Tate declared himself to the world as a power-hungry megalomaniac.
Over the past few years, TikTok has boosted Tate even more despite his personal inactivity on the platform. His marketing scheme does not necessarily involve his own efforts as much as it relies on copycat accounts that repost his content, run by the aggrieved young men of Tate’s online course, “Hustler’s University”. It’s a blatant manipulation of TikTok’s algorithm and guidelines, with Tate’s “students” being directed to repost his most controversial videos to maximize engagement and profit.
Several years ago, Tate moved to Romania with his brother, but his online content, mostly distributed through podcasts and YouTube videos alongside TikTok accounts, has been as prevalent as ever.
In a now-deleted video previously posted to his YouTube channel, Tate also explained his sickening reason for moving to Romania in the first place: it’s easier to get away with rape. In his own words, “no, I’m not a f*cking rapist. But I like the idea of being able to just do what I want.”
However, with Tate’s arrest and the worldwide recognition of an undeniably awful charge, his toxic reign may be coming to an end.
On Dec. 27, Tate tagged 19-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a tweet bragging about his expensive, gas-guzzling cars, with the mocking request to “provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions.”
Thunberg replied, “yes, please do enlighten me. email me at email@example.com”. Her quick response to Tate’s childish boasting has now been liked 3.9 million times.
Tate’s video response does not have much of a point to it: He continues to insult Thunberg and make wild claims about her being “a slave of the Matrix” who seeks to “stop the sun from being hot”. The next day, Tate was arrested by Romanian officials for human trafficking charges.
Online rumours speculated that it was the pizza box Tate was handed in his video that gave his location away, but it was later clarified that the Romanian police had already been tracking him and his brother for running a suspected organized crime group.
These are simply the most recent occurrences that have sent the Internet into yet another frenzy of controversy around Tate’s actions. Many are immensely relieved at his arrest while others still mope at Tate’s supposedly undeserved injustice delivered by a “Matrix attack”, his explanation for the realities of living in a world with reasonable institutions and laws by which we must abide.
Manipulative, self-serving people like Andrew Tate will always have a following to back themselves up with regardless of the extreme, current circumstances. It remains to be seen whether his arrest will have any impact on this following, but either way, Tate’s actions have finally led to firm consequences.
Blaming “the Matrix” for charges of human trafficking and rape will not get him too far in the legislative system, nor will it fare well among the broader Internet community. Plus, with Tate’s 11 luxury cars being seized by Romanian authorities, the man’s ego surely must have taken a hit, giving him even less to brag about to his fandom of angry men if he is released.
After Tate’s years as a self-appointed “top G”, I’m hoping it will be a long, painful fall back to reality for him.