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Who is Andrew Tate? And why is the controversial figure taking over TikTok?

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If you’re a man between the age of 16 and 25, you’ve probably seen this man all over your Tiktok FYP, whether you like it or not.

His name is Andrew Tate. He’s an entrepreneur and former kickboxing champion who currently runs an online course in “modern wealth creation” at his own “Hustler’s University,” and he’s seemingly come out of nowhere to become, at the time of this writing, one of the most viral people on the internet for his cartoonishly misogynistic takes like “women can’t drive,” “men can cheat but women can’t,” or “18-19 year-old women are more attractive than 25 year-olds because they’ve been through less dick.” Known to his fans as the “King of Toxic Masculinity,” Tate has acquired a massive following (and a steady income) as a self-help guru offering advice to young men on how to make money and talk to women.

Popular Twitch streamer and political commentator Hasan Piker, a prominent critic of Tate’s, has weighed in on Hustler’s University, explaining that it both feeds off of, and profits from, Tate’s fandom. “He’s hooking them in with reactionary points of view that a lot of people hold on to regardless, and then using that as an opportunity to instill confidence in them and turning around and selling the product that is himself,” Piker said on one of his streams. “He’s making money by selling you the idea that you can get rich, but the way he’s getting rich is by selling you the idea of teaching you how to get rich.”

Under his Instagram profile @cobratate, the multi-millionaire has acquired 3.5 million followers, and TikTok fan accounts that post videos of Tate have racked up countless views. Clips of his appearances on various programs and podcasts that have also racked up views in the millions.

But who is Andrew Tate, why has he suddenly gone viral, and why is he currently under investigation for human sex trafficking in Romania?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Andrew Tate?

According to his website, he was born in the U.S. and holds British and U.S. citizenship, has earned multiple world titles as a professional fighter, and is a commentator for an MMA promotion in Romania called Real Xtreme Fighting.

Tate apparently earned his fortune by running an adult webcam business called “myfreecams” with his brother Tristan. They employed women to have chat sessions with men in which the women would complain of personal tragedies and claim to be in need of money, which the men would then supply via a “tipping” feature on the site. The Daily Mirror interviewed the two brothers in March. Tristan said in the interview the business was a “big scam to sell sob stories to desperate men.”

Tate claimed on a video podcast in March that at the height of myfreecams, over 75 women were working for him across four locations, and that he was pulling in $600,000 a month.

In that same video, Tate also explains that his house, which was housing the girls working for his webcam studio, was raided by UK authorities after one of the women claimed Tate had hit her. He also explains that amid the ensuing investigation, he felt persecuted by the British government, and left for Romania. In a now-deleted YouTube video, Tate claimed that Romania’s lax laws on sexual assault are “40% of the reason” why he moved. He added: “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free.”

Tate and his many controversies

Before his rise on Tiktok, Tate’s biggest claim to fame was being kicked off the 17th season of Big Brother in 2016 after the release of a video in which Tate appeared to beat a woman with a belt. Tate has maintained that his actions were consensual and shared a video on Facebook of a woman claiming to be the woman in the video saying that the video was, “a huge misunderstanding.”

Subsequently, many of Tate’s tweets during that time period garnered major backlash, including a tweet thread denying that depression is a mental illness. “Sure. Natural to sometimes FEEL depressed. It doesn’t make it a DISEASE. I feel hungry sometimes, then I change it,” Tate said in the now deleted thread. At the time, Tate’s take on mental health was criticized and mocked. Comedian Patton Oswalt called it an “energy drink tagline.”

Tate also claimed that women bear personal responsibility for being sexually assaulted — a comment made during the midst of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. He wrote: “Sexual harassment is disgusting and inexcusable. However. A man looking at you or whistling at you or asking your name isn’t harassment.”

“This belief does discredit as a whole. Stick to the serious definitions and stop pretending normal male behavior is rape,” the thread continued. “Secondly – harvey. Creep? Obviously. But women have been exchanging sex for opportunity for a very long time. Some did this. Weren’t abused.”

This tweet thread is also deleted along with his entire Twitter account, @cobratate, which has been permanently banned from Twitter.

As of this writing, Tate is currently under investigation by Romanian police for human trafficking, according to The Daily Beast. In a statement made to that publication, Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said the raid on the internet star’s house was part of a probe that began after a woman was reported to have been held at the house against her will. Further, a U.S. State Department spokesperson alluded to a reported abduction of an American citizen but declined to comment further, The Daily Beast reported.

In an episode of the Tate brothers’ podcast, Tristan Tate explains that the reason for the raid was because a girl had told her boyfriend she didn’t want to be at the party but they wouldn’t let her leave.

Tristan Tate: “He then calls the fucking police and says ‘my girlfriend is being held against her will by the Tate brothers.’ The police call the American embassy, and the next day the police come to our house.”

As of April 27, 2022, no one had been charged or arrested but the investigation is ongoing, a Romanian police agency spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

Is Hustler’s University a scam?

To understand how Tate became so viral so fast, look no further than his online course, “Hustler’s University 2.0.” According to its website, for the cool price of $50, Hustler’s University 2.0 promises “a community where [Tate] and dozens of War Room soldiers will teach YOU exactly how to make money.” According to the website, Hustler’s University has over 127,000 paying members for a total of $6.3 million a month in profit.

The program claims to offer access to “stock analysis, options plays, crypto analysis, DeFi (Decentralized Finance), E-commerce, Copywriting, Freelancing, Flipping, Financial planning, Business management and more.” However, many have been quick to point out the questionable business model of Tate’s program.

On July 22, Tiktok user @Benleavitt alleged that Tate’s Hustler’s University business is basically an MLM for “sigma males.” In the video, he discussed Tate’s training courses and the dynamic of his business, including the referral system and workflow for affiliates who take the “opportunity” upon joining Hustler’s University.

Benleavitt explains that because of Hustler’s University’s affiliate marketer program, members of the course are taught to spread as many clips of Tate across social media as possible in order to drive traffic to the course.

Accounts that spread Tate’s clips on social media will usually have an affiliate marketer link where they will receive 50 percent of the profits from the people they refer to the program, Benleavitt says. So when researching Hustler’s University on YouTube, you’ll find a wall of videos reviewing the program — but it appears most of these YouTube users have a financial motivation for posting these.

YouTuber iilluminaughtii did an even deeper dive into Tate’s alleged pyramid scheme on her channel along with the other services he advertises on his website like the “War Room.”

Tate has also gained traction from appearances on Manosphere-related content like the Fresh and Fit podcast. He’s also been seen and has been very vocal about his support of other alt-right personalities and figures like Matt Walsh and Donald Trump, Jr. According to The Daily Beast, he’s been seen dining with far-right commentator Jack Posobiec and Infowars host Paul Joseph Watson, and Tate has personally appeared on InfoWars.

Much of Tate’s viral fame over the past few weeks stems from a round of argumentative appearances on notable Twitch streams, which were propelled to further infamy by clips that circulated on TikTok. He appeared with popular streamer Adin Ross and got into a series of arguments with Twitch streamer xQc in which he made inflammatory remarks about essentially owning women.

As of the time of this writing, it looks like Tate might have a boxing match with one of the Paul brothers, Logan or Jake. Both men have called out Tate and in the past, Tate himself offered a $3 million prize to fight Jake but insists that negotiations for the fight have stalled.

Whether the fights happen or not, it appears Tate is a face on the rise, and a potentially dangerous one at that given his influence among men all over the internet.

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