By Diana Morose
Leave the cooking and cleaning to women. Have sex with as many girls as possible. Don’t show any of your emotions or vulnerabilities as a man because it makes you look weak; unless, of course, you’re displaying anger and violence as a means of gaining respect.
Sexism, promiscuity, and stoicism. These are just some of the beliefs and traits that characterize toxic masculinity, a way of thinking associated with a set of stereotypical male attributes and behaviors that can be harmful to women, men and society as a whole. Many in the social media world associate the phrase toxic masculinity with a man named Andrew Tate, a kickboxer turned social media influencer.
The self-proclaimed “King of Toxic Masculinity” – Tate – made the news last December when he and his brother Tristan were detained in Romania, along with two other individuals, in connection to an investigation led by Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) involving human trafficking, organized crime, and rape, with six victims identified.
“The four suspects... appear to have created an organized crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialized websites for a cost,” the Romanian prosecutors stated.
Emory Andrew Tate III was born December 1, 1986, in Washington, D.C. but, over the past couple of years, he has gained notoriety and amassed a large following across platforms. Winning his first kickboxing championship back in 2009, he stepped into the limelight as a contestant on the competition reality show “Big Brother (UK)” in 2016. He was kicked off of the show when offensive tweets he made surfaced along with a video of him hitting his then-girlfriend with a belt.
The investigation into Tate and his brother by the Romanian authorities was launched April 2022.
Tate’s home in Romania was reportedly raided after authorities were notified by the U.S. Embassy that an American citizen was being held against their will. He later denied this, claiming the raid was just an instance of swatting—the act of making a prank call to emergency services with a false report in an attempt to dispatch law enforcement to an address.
Among the charges, Tate is accused of luring and trafficking a Moldovan woman from London and raping her on two occasions. WhatsApp conversations surfaced during the investigation between Andrew, Tristan, the Moldovan woman, and an American woman that Tristan is being investigated for trafficking from the U.S.
The Tate brothers have denied all claims of illegal activity and stated the women were free to leave at any point.
“I honestly feel like it’s not true,” said Kevian Lewis, a senior majoring in communications and media studies.
Lewis found the allegations against Andrew Tate to be shocking. He feels that Tate is being targeted, especially after his social media accounts were taken down. But if the allegations turn out to be true, he thinks Tate should be punished.
After cementing his “alpha male” persona online, Tate amassed himself a largely male following.
He is known for promoting a hypermasculine, affluent lifestyle. He has made comments about women being partly responsible for being raped, that women should not be allowed to drive, and should be submissive to men. He also outrightly said he is “absolutely sexist” and “absolutely a misogynist” and titled himself “King of Toxic Masculinity.”
His comments and views led him to be banned from TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram in late August 2022.
After Elon Musk acquired ownership over Twitter last October, he lifted a 2017 ban on Tate that was instituted after Tate described the sexual assault victims of Harvey Weinstein, which violated the website’s guidelines.
Tate also established Hustlers University, described as “an online, money-focused community providing education and coaching to over 100,000 students worldwide.”
The program was primarily run using Discord servers and had an affiliate marketing program. The affiliate course incentivized Tate’s followers to earn a commission by signing up new members to the program and promoting videos of Tate on social media for referrals to generate thousands of videos to keep him trending across platforms.
Many have claimed the program to be a “scam” and “money-making scheme.” Subscribers to the course pay $50 a month to choose a specialization in cryptocurrency, freelancing, e-commerce, copywriting, or work with the affiliate marketing program. Those previously enrolled found a lot of the information shared was beginner level and could easily be discovered online for free.
Multiple appeals have been made by Tate and his co-conspirators to end their detainment, but they have subsequently been denied. The Tates’ legal team have stated they have not been formally charged, suggesting a lack of evidence, and claim their continued detainment violates their human rights. The brothers are currently still being detained until the end of February while the investigation is ongoing. Theresa Baptiste, a junior majoring in athletic training, said she was not surprised by Tate’s arrest.
“It was just a matter of time before his true colors came to light. He was already manipulating and poisoning the minds of young men with his harmful rhetoric for the world to see, we’re just now seeing behind the curtains.”