Who Is Andrew Tate and Why Are Social Media Sites Removing His Accounts?
Andrew Tate, a former professional kickboxer who frequently made misogynistic comments about women online, has been barred in the last week from Facebook, YouTube and TikTok after concerns about his influence on his millions of followers escalated.
Mr. Tate, 35, first gained mainstream media attention after appearing on the reality television show “Big Brother” in 2016. He has since carved out a space online where he claims to know the secrets to wealth and makes hateful comments.
Among Mr. Tate’s comments, he has said women who are raped are partially responsible for the attacks, described in detail how he might attack women and criticized people who seek mental health treatment.
In a YouTube video posted on Tuesday, Mr. Tate addressed the social media bans and said clips of his comments had been taken out of context.
Here’s what to know about him.
How did he become popular?
Mr. Tate, who is British and American, has competed internationally as a professional kickboxer. But it was his appearance on the British version of “Big Brother” six years ago that gave him a platform — and provided fodder for the British media.
He was removed from “Big Brother” after The Sun, a British tabloid, showed producers a video of him hitting a woman with a belt.
Mr. Tate said at the time and in the video on Tuesday that it had been a consensual act.
He has since built a following online by posting YouTube videos and appearing on podcasts, including “The Alex Jones Show.” The far-right figure Mike Cernovich, known for, among other things, promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, appeared on Mr. Tate’s podcast this year.
In one video Mr. Tate recorded while sitting in a bed, he described keeping a machete by his bed and what he would do if a woman accused him of cheating: “It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her up by the neck.”
During a July interview with the Barstool Sports podcast “BFFs,” Mr. Tate smoked a cigar and was asked about his previous statements suggesting women are men’s property. “I’m not saying they’re property,” he said. “I am saying they are given to the man and belong to the man.”
In 2017, he said depression “isn’t real.” In his video on Tuesday, he credited himself with curing people’s depression using “mind hacks.”
What is his online reach?
Before Mr. Tate’s accounts were deleted, he had about 4.6 million followers on Instagram and more than 740,000 followers on YouTube, and his videos on TikTok had millions of views, Rolling Stone reported.
Mr. Tate also offered a subscription for $49.99 per month to a program called Hustler’s University, which he said would provide “high-income skill development.” The program had 127,000 subscribers earlier this month but has since shut down, The Observer reported.
Interest in Mr. Tate has soared over the summer, according to Google Trends, which tracks inquiries on the search engine. And with that new attention, Mr. Tate has found new critics. In recent weeks, teachers have raised concerns about his influence on students, and one group of educators on Instagram even put together a guide for what it described as Mr. Tate’s “incredibly problematic and violent views.”
Last week, Hope not Hate, an antiracism advocacy group in Britain, called on social media companies to bar Mr. Tate. “It is not an exaggeration to say that many young students returning to school at the end of the summer holidays will have seen something produced by Andrew Tate,” the group said.
Mr. Tate did not directly address these allegations in Tuesday’s video, which is just over an hour long. In it, he complained that people were posting clips of his lengthy videos for their benefit, not his own. “I was massively a victim of my own success,” he said.
What does he say?
On Tuesday night, the porousness of those bans was evident when Mr. Tate posted a video on YouTube called the “Final Message” on a nonofficial account called “The Tate Bible.” It was promoted by popular accounts on Twitter and had more than 700,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.
In the video, Mr. Tate repeatedly described himself as the most famous person in the world and claimed that shortened clips of his videos that had circulated recently lacked context. He said that the videos were made five or six years ago when he was less popular, but that he was still responsible for how the messages were received.
To address this, he said he would stop doing podcast interviews for an indefinite amount of time.
Here’s what’s going on with his accounts.
In recent weeks, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have taken down his official accounts, all citing violations of their policies.
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, removed his official accounts on Friday and said they were in violation of its policies.
YouTube took down several channels affiliated with Mr. Tate “for multiple violations of our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, including our hate speech policy,” said Ivy Choi, a spokeswoman for the company.
A Twitter spokesperson said the official Andrew Tate account was permanently banned from the website for violating its rules, but did not specify when.
TikTok has also barred Mr. Tate.
“Misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated on TikTok,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Our investigation into this content is ongoing, as we continue to remove violative accounts and videos and pursue measures to strengthen our enforcement, including our detection models, against this type of content.”
On Twitch, the popular livestreaming service, Mr. Tate’s channel is listed as “closed by the user.” The company did not respond to a request for comment.