Madonna King: Most Googled man in the world’s chilling war on women

He started as a loudmouth on the British version of Big Brother, and now has built a huge and troubling following with his toxic misogyny. So should we be afraid of Andrew Tate, asks Madonna King

Feb 29, 2024, updated Mar 01, 2024
Andrew Tate checks his mobile phone inside the Court of Appeal building in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Andrew Tate checks his mobile phone inside the Court of Appeal building in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A handful of years ago, a Queensland University lecturer told me about a number of young male students in his class who were devotees of a UK influencer called Andrew Tate.

He asked whether, as a journalist, I knew much about him, or as an author of books about teen girls, how dangerous I thought he might be.

The lecturer explained that Tate – born Emory Andrew Tate – was empowering young male students “to take back the space stolen from them by women’’; urging them to fight to be heard, to ensure their jobs weren’t stolen, and to keep their place in the world.

And they believed the enemy was the clever female sitting next to them.

In one of his classes, in particular, he said there was a big group of male students who would arrive early and spread out, making it uncomfortable for women to climb over them or to find a seat where they could sit together. And they all talked about Andrew Tate.

Any advice?

I had none, because his name didn’t register with me, and I quickly forgot the conversation for a couple of years – until schools started seeing a surge in the popularity of Tate amongst their male students.

Teachers reported hearing him being referenced in the playground and in assignments, in debates and in classroom conversations.

In primary schools now, teachers are routinely finding young male students sending lists of his ‘top quotes’ to each other, and shortcuts to his viral rants on their home screens.

In high schools, his influence is feverish, with complaints ranging from males ganging up to intimidate female peers from using school gyms, to applying for leadership positions, and telling nasty sexist jokes about women.

And back in universities, his followers have ballooned in number: the evidence popping up in conversations with females about the treatment metered out to them in university clubs and societies.

Now, according to Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, the former kickboxing world champion who is facing charges in Romania of rape and human trafficking “is the most googled man in the world”.

Canavan’s claims of how the gender pay gap (which reveals a median male worker in Australia earns $96,945 on average, with women making 19 per cent less at $78,484 per year) is measured might be spurious to many, but his assertion about Tate, and how young men see themselves being trumped by female peers at every turn, shouldn’t be dismissed as quickly.

The context was this: Canavan believes the gender pay gap data is “complete nonsense’’ because it compares apples with oranges, or part-time workers with full-time workers. “The big issue right now that I get feedback on is young men, in particular, are constantly told you’re not getting promoted because you’re a man. I hear that all the time. That’s why Andrew Tate is the most Googled man in the world.’’

I’ll sit on the urge to say women haven’t been promoted for centuries because they are women. Or to check whether Tate is really the “most googled man’’ in the world, but Canavan is right to raise the evil, misogynistic, toxic and pervasive influence Tate is now having in Australian schools.

With videos of him being watched billions – yes, billions – of times, he is Taylor Swift huge. Just the ying to her yang, the malicious to her kind. And if you are in any doubt, ask your local school principal.

So what is Andrew Tate – who believes women belong to men and the home and cannot drive – telling our sons?

That women are lazy, cannot be independent, were similar to dogs and children and that rape victims need to “bear responsibility’’ for their attacks. “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free,’’ he said in one clip.

He’s even demonstrated how he would assault a girlfriend if he was accused of cheating. “It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up b***h.’’

There’s no way “you can be rooted in reality and not be sexist’’ he tells his millions of devoted young male followers. And “why would you be with a woman who’s not a virgin anyway? She’s is used goods. Second hand.’’

Tate was really a nobody, until his behaviour towards women had him ejected from the UK Big Brother house in 2016. And since then, his influence has accrued followers on the back of his appalling, downgrading and toxic treatment of women. On one social media platform, his followers quickly climbed to 8.8 million. “One of the best things about being a man is being territorial and being able to say ‘that is mine’,’’ he’s claimed.

In the UK, where Tate moved as a child, a survey recently found that 16-29 year old males are more negative about feminism than men over 60 – and one in five had a positive view of Tate. Political parties are discussing ways to ‘counter’ the Tate influence.

Canavan was clumsy and wrong in his discussion around the pay gap. But he might be right in claiming that the gender report – so important in our fight for equality – will be used as a ‘recruitment drive’ for people like Andrew Tate.

His influence is vast and growing, and we need to mute it because with each new devotee it’s not only our daughters who lose; it’s that huge field of kind and respectful young men, who also believe in the power of equality.

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