Teachers have been asked to listen to children talk about a ‘dangerous’ and controversial influencer when schools return from summer vacation.
Former kickboxer and multi-millionaire Andrew Tate had his Instagram and Facebook accounts deleted after sharing his misogynistic and offensive views online and for running the University Hustlers – a pyramid scheme that claims to teach people how to get rich.
Before his Instagram account was deleted, he had amassed over four million followers and although he did not have his own official account on TikTok and was banned from having one, the content posted under the hashtag Andrew Tate has been viewed over 13 billion times.
A charity Sky News spoke to said the content they are most worried about is still online.
He first rose to fame in 2016 for being dropped from reality TV show Big Brother after a video emerged showing him attacking a woman with a belt – a clip which he says , has been edited.
Since then, he has gained further notoriety on sites such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for his offensive comments, including some in which he suggested that rape victims “bear some responsibility” for being attacked and others where he referred to women as “property”. to men.
He also described how he allegedly violently assaulted a woman for accusing him of cheating, saying he would “hit the machete, jump in her face and grab her by the neck”.
As a result, concerns have been raised about his influence on young people, especially young men.
English teacher Kirsty Pole has gone viral on Twitter after urging fellow educators to be aware of Tate and “dangerous, misogynistic and homophobic abuse”.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Pole said some of the replies to her tweet were ‘truly shocking’ and that she has heard from primary school teachers who have previously spoken to children as young as 10 about Tate’s harmful views .
“It’s a name that teachers are becoming more and more aware of, no doubt,” said the 34-year-old.
“Schools these days generally tend to be pretty welcoming spaces, very inclusive, very nurturing…I think people like him want to take us back to the 50s or 60s.”
She added that she feared young boys were particularly vulnerable to Tate’s extreme views, saying: “They already don’t know who they should be, if they’re allowed to have emotions, if they have the right to cry or if they need to ‘man up’.”
What should you pay attention to?
Amid her warning about Tate, the Leicestershire-based teacher urged parents and teachers to pay close attention to what young people are talking about with their peers.
“Listen to what they’re talking about because you’ll learn more from listening to them than trying to do your own research on every misogynist on the internet,” she said.
She added that “the biggest indicator” of kids being influenced by Tate is if they start using misogynistic language.
“There’s a lot of specific language in the so-called manosphere. Comments like, she’s whipped, or he’s wet, there’s a lot of language around that,” she said.
“It’s much more about the language that young people use among themselves, that’s the main indicator.”
In recent years, teachers have received more training on protection and radicalisation, but Ms Pole thinks training on misogyny should be introduced.
“There’s not enough misogyny yet. There has to be more. We still have work to do on that, definitely,” she said.
A government spokesperson said: ‘We have made relationship, sex and health education (RSHE) a compulsory part of the school curriculum and have published guidance for schools on how to be mindful to issues such as misogyny and gender stereotyping.
“We’ve also provided resources to help teachers deliver this program with confidence and work closely with schools, councils and other experts to understand and address the effects of harmful social media trends.”
What did Andrew Tate say about his opinions?
Although Tate did not respond to requests for comment from Sky News, during a live event with Twitch streamer Adin Ross on Friday he was asked about teachers’ comments on Reddit suggesting he incites their students making misogynistic comments.
He replied: “I know it’s not, a lot of the stuff that’s been taken and chopped up and uploaded is from a very long time ago when I didn’t have a fraction of the influence that I have now. I’m not apologizing for them, I’m not even saying they’re inherently wrong.
He added that he had “started an initiative to donate money to a charity aimed at protecting women against domestic violence”.
He also released a statement, saying he denied holding misogynistic views and accused his critics of “distorting the facts”.
“It is very unfortunate that old videos of me playing a comedic character have been taken out of context and amplified to the point where people believe absolutely false stories about me,” the statement read.
“Sensationalism on the internet has claimed the idea that I am anti-women, when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just hate mobs who aren’t interested in the facts on the matter, trying to attack me personally.
“The media is repeatedly putting out a fake image of me and Instagram giving in to the pressure is a huge disgrace.
“I have nothing but positivity to spread regarding all people, male or female, and that has been reflected in all of my recent posts and posts.”
‘Most of the damage’ happens on TikTok – despite ban
YouTube became the latest platform to ban his profile on Tuesday for breaking its rules on hate speech.
A spokesperson told Bloomberg that channels associated with Tate were removed due to “multiple violations” of YouTube’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, including its hate speech policy.
“If a channel is terminated, the uploader may not use, own or create any other YouTube channels,” the statement said.
The campaign group, Hope Not Hate, had called for the bans, but also focused on videos of him posted by other profiles on TikTok and YouTube.
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The group welcomed the changes, but the organization’s research director told Sky News that the content they “worried the most” was still online and that “the most harm” was happening on TikTok.
“TikTok says they remove content that violates its terms of service, so explicitly misogynistic content is removed…but the problem for us is that not all of its content meets the ban threshold,” explained the Dr. Joe Mulhall.
A TikTok spokesperson said: “Misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated on TikTok. We’ve been removing violent videos and accounts for weeks, and we’re excited to hear that other platforms are taking also take action against this individual.”
Tate also regularly appears in music videos dealing with topics such as money, cars, cigars, or other general topics.
However, Dr Mulhall warned that because of this, people are getting “sucked in” by the aspirational lifestyle he showcases and then move on to consuming broader content about him, which includes “the misogyny, homophobia and anti-multiculturalism”.
“I’ve never seen such a toxic, extreme kind of social media star become so massive,” he said.
“I think the harm that has been done over the last six months by Andrew Tate online is going to take years to unravel.”
The extreme right
Tate has also defended far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson, appeared on a podcast with American far-right influencer Mike Cernovich and featured on InfoWars, a podcast by Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist who recently lost a lawsuit regarding the Sandy Hook school shooting in the United States.
Hope Not Hate’s research described him as a ‘close associate of far-right extremist’ Tommy Robinson and claims he has a ‘long history of close association with various far-right figures in the UK United and America”.
“Tommy Robinson did a livestream yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and there were comments saying ‘I’m here because of Tate’, so we even find concrete examples of Andrew Tate supporters ending up on his livestreams and it’s really terrifying,” Dr Mulhall added.
“We talk about violent misogyny because it’s really dangerous, but it’s also tied to these networks that some young people are going to end up engaging with.
“All of a sudden you’re introducing this whole new audience to these far-right extremists.”
Read more: Does Spotify have a problem with hate speech?
In one clip, Tate describes Tommy Robinson as a “solid guy” and says he’s “hung out” with him for “untold times”.
“Without getting too political, because you know, I’m not saying I disagree with him or I agree with him, but I’m telling you something, he’s a solid guy. , he means what he says, he has a good heart, he’s honest, and I think what the establishment is trying to do to him is grossly unfair.”
Latest research from UK communications regulator Ofcom has shown that using video-sharing platforms (VSPs), such as YouTube or TikTok, was the most popular online activity among children aged 3-17. % (95%). while the majority chose to watch content on VSPs and 31% posted content they created themselves.
Of all types of online platforms, YouTube was the most widely used by children with 89% of them, compared to half using TikTok, but TikTok was more popular for posting content, he added. .
Sky News has contacted Andrew Tate and YouTube for comment.