Young people from ethnic minority communities are more likely to have a positive view of Andrew Tate than white young people, new polling data shared with VICE News has suggested.
The Savanta survey of 1,214 people in the UK aged between 16 and 25 showed that 41 percent of Black respondents and 31 percent of Asian respondents viewed Tate positively. In contrast, 15 percent of white respondents viewed Tate, currently under house arrest in Romania over accusations of sex trafficking, in a positive light.
The survey revealed that just one in five young people have a positive view of Tate, though young men were significantly more likely to have a positive view of him – 32 percent of them – than young women – 9 percent. Heterosexual young people were more likely to have a positive view of him; nearly a quarter of them said so, compared to just 5 percent of LGBTQ individuals.
“The majority of young people of colour were rejecting his ideas,” Dan Guinness, managing director of Beyond Equality, a charity that works with boys and young men, told VICE News in response to the findings, “but what’s important to get across is what these conversations and these points of recognition are that many young people of colour aren’t getting elsewhere, which some do get through Andrew Tate.”
Guinness said that conversations in schools around gender equality often don’t discuss intersectionality or how racism impacts young people. He said that the COVID pandemic could have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation, with lockdowns leaving people unable to explore these ideas in educational settings.
“That’s jarring and alienating. Someone is in that space, and then someone like Tate comes along saying, ‘you’re a powerful person and you’ll get a lot of things done if you follow these steps,’” he said. “That’s a really powerful message to hear which is sadly often at the expense of other people and doesn’t address those underlying dynamics in society.”
Tate is a former professional kickboxer and reality star who pivoted to making so-called “alpha-male” online content on TikTok and YouTube. He shot to popularity and global prominence with misogynistic videos about women and aspirational content about making money. He ran an online lesson programme where students were encouraged to churn out videos of him, further increasing his online profile.
His popularity with some groups of young British men has led to schoolchildren demonstrating their support for him in classrooms and him being mentioned several times in the UK Parliament as part of concerns around online safety.
Survey respondents who had heard of Tate were asking if they felt positively or negatively about his views on a variety of different topics. A majority found his views on women (75 percent), sexual assault/violence (73 percent), masculinity (70 percent), mental health (62 percent) and politics (59 percent) problematic. His least problematic views appeared to be those on being an entrepreneur, where 35 percent said they did not find his views problematic.
“The fact that most people who’ve heard of Tate find his views problematic is encouraging,” Tim Squirrell from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue told VICE News, noting that it was “obviously unsurprising” the survey findings showed that young women and LGBTQ individuals overwhelmingly viewed Tate as a negative figure.
“He has repeatedly expressed queerphobic and misogynistic sentiments. The comparatively positive view of his ‘entrepreneurship’ is understandable given that he has been marketing himself more recently as a successful business guru, claiming that young people should seek to emulate him to become rich and successful themselves,” Squirrell said. “But we shouldn’t be fooled; his entire philosophy is grounded in bigotry and exploitation of others. The entrepreneurship advice is very much a gateway into substantially darker material produced by many actors within the broader manosphere.”
Tate, who said he had converted to Islam in October, has also been reported to have a steadily growing community of followers from a Muslim background online.
Javid Hashmi, an Islamic studies scholar at Harvard University, told CNN earlier this year that redpilled Muslim influencers he labelled “akh right bros” had been popular online for some time. He said they “tap into audiences who struggle with their identity because they are socially and financially disenfranchised as a result of systemic Islamophobia and racism, and may be sexually frustrated due to a lack of success in the dating and marriage market,” adding that “there is a symbiotic online relationship between akh right bros and influencers like Tate because they play into an algorithm that rewards extreme views, allowing them to gain virality and make money.”
The Savanta survey also revealed that Tate is the best-known influencer after Kylie Jenner for British 16-25-year-olds, with marginally more young people having heard of him than KSI or Logan or Jake Paul. Guinness said that this fitted with the experience of Beyond Equality facilitators, who have been hearing his name for around 18 months at workshops they run. “It’s probably 10-20 percent depending on the school who really look up to Andrew Tate. Then there’s a bigger group of people, 20 to 40 percent, who go along with it as a joke who occasionally tap into it when they want to get a laugh out of people or some controversy. And then there’s a big group of people who think he doesn’t have anything useful to say.”
Deniz Uğur, deputy director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, told VICE News it was concerning how many young men had a positive view of Tate and that “this polling reinforces what we know about how this type of influencer markets themselves as a ‘successful’ and ‘aspirational’ role model who is a ‘truth teller’. But we know that this is just a mask for the violent and misogynistic disinformation being drip fed to his young viewers.”
“Tech platforms have a huge role to play in amplifying and even promoting this content to those who aren’t even looking for it, because extreme content generates more clicks which in turn generates more profit for the platform. This is why the new online safety law must introduce a violence against women and girls code of practice to hold tech platforms accountable for the harmful content pushed and promoted by their algorithms for profit. It’s also why schools must be better supported to deliver quality relationships and sex education and have teachers feeling equipped to openly discuss these issues with young people.”
Tate, 36, is under house arrest with his brother Tristan in Romania after they were arrested in December. Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism said in a statement that had identified six alleged victims of human trafficking. The brothers have denied these accusations.
VICE News revealed earlier this year that Andrew Tate had previously been arrested in the UK on suspicion of rape but authorities declined to prosecute.
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