Social media posts by Andrew Tate could serve as a “gateway drug” to children who go on to view more damaging content, teachers have warned.
At one school the head of performing arts Matt Adams decided to hold “Andrew Tate assemblies” due to fears over what pupils interested in the influencer are exposed to online.
Mr Adams teaches at a west London school, and he said boys he had spoken to would either support Tate outright, make excuses for him or claim he had been misquoted.
“It is concerning how much Tate’s supporters will take his word as gospel, and not do any research before regurgitating it back out into the world,” Mr Adams said. “Tate’s speeches not only scream of toxic masculinity, misogyny and victim blaming, but they express a deep lack of care for other people as human beings.”
“This lifestyle appeals to young men, and the message is that they must be just like him to reach it. One teacher told me a student had said that Tate was “correct” regarding his distrust in government and taxes, so “the other stuff must be right”.
He is not the only educator who is concerned about the influence of Tate, who has enjoyed millions of followers across social media and once said women should “bear some responsibility” for their own rape.
The British-American former kickboxer (36) has gained notoriety over the years by promoting an ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle online. Prior to being banned from Instagram he had a following of 4.6 million and the hashtag #AndrewTate has accumulated more than 12 billion views on TikTok.
Matthew Simpson, a 28-year-old teacher working at a secondary school in Bristol, says students are being exposed to Tate’s content in “out of context” memes online.
“The most popular one currently is about the colour of Andrew Tate’s Bugatti [it is brown],” Mr Simpson said.
“Students don’t understand the full picture of his views and prejudices and will happily quote him.
“But then when challenged they will be entirely ignorant of the fact that the man with the brown Bugatti espouses vile misogyny daily to his millions of followers.
“The concern is that these bite-size chunks of content could also act as a gateway drug, into his longer more damaging content.”
Tate is currently detained in Romania on human trafficking and rape charges, which he denies.
Tate first joined Twitter in 2011, but was banned in 2017 for violating its terms of service with tweets he wrote about violence against women. He has since been reinstated on the platform but is currently detained in Romania after a judge extended his custody period to 30 days.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the UK’s ASCL teachers’ union, said leaders plan to discuss Mr Tate’s influence at their next general meeting.
“There is a lot of concern among many school and college leaders about the vile misogynistic material propagated by Andrew Tate and the influence this has on impressionable boys,” he said.
“Most boys are respectful of young women, but unfortunately some are taken in by the nonsense spouted by this individual, and this is a huge concern for educators and for society in general.”
Romania’s anti-organised crime agency has carried out additional house searches in its investigation into Tate, an official said.
Ramona Bolla, spokesperson for the DIICOT agency, said searches are taking place in the counties of Bucharest, Ilfov and Prahova “to obtain further evidence”.
Tate’s brother Tristan and two Romanian women were also arrested.
On Tuesday, a court upheld a judge’s move on December 30 to extend their arrest from 24 hours to 30 days.
Thursday’s searches come a day after Tate lost a second appeal this week at a Bucharest court, where he challenged the seizure of assets by prosecutors in the late December raids, including properties, land and a fleet of luxury cars.
More than 10 properties and land owned by companies registered to the Tate brothers have also been seized.
Ms Bolla said the court “decided that the seizures are legal and (that) the goods remain at our disposal”.
If they can prove the Tates made money through human trafficking, the assets could be used to cover the expenses of the investigation and compensation for victims, she added.
DIICOT says it has identified six victims in the human trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.
The agency said victims were lured by pretences of love, and later intimidated, kept under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into performing in pornography to make money for their alleged persecutors.
“We make it clear that during the entire criminal process, the investigated persons benefit from the procedural rights… as well as the presumption of innocence,” DIICOT added in its statement on Thursday.