Andrew Tate and his impact on men in university

‘If Andrew Tate thinks, I agree. If Andrew Tate speaks, I listen. If Andrew Tate orders, I obey.’ One only must go to his Twitter account to see the power he holds.

Dubbed as ‘The scariest man on the internet,’ he has styled himself as a ‘self-help guru,’ posting advice on men’s mental health, finance, and on relationships.

Andrew Tate became more prominent in 2016, after being kicked out of ‘Big Brother’ where there had been allegations of rape from a webcam model who worked for him.

His statements since then have ranged from ‘Depression isn’t real’, to ‘If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bear some responsibility.’ Tate may argue these quotes are taken out of context, but these give a flavour of the types of things he has said. Tate has described himself as ‘the most conservative man on the planet.’

Following his arrest in Romania on rape and human trafficking allegations, there has been more coverage of Tate on mainstream media. Currently the concern is on how he is affecting boys in their mid-teens. However, research for this article suggests that young men in universities have also been affected by Tate.

The survey was aimed at finding out whether Andrew Tate has had an influence on men at university. It was sent to a Queens and an Ulster University student page on Facebook, totalling to 231 responses. Most participants were aged 21-24, the majority of them finding out about Andrew Tate when they were 20 or over. This suggests that some men could have been exposed to Tate for up to 4 years. Around 45% discovered Tate on TikTok, with around 21% finding him on Instagram. The survey found that a majority would look occasionally at his content, with around 16% looking every day. A minority of 1 in 12 participants said they totally agreed with Tate’s opinions, with almost half saying they did not agree. However, what is significant about these results is that around 43% answered that they agreed with some of Tate’s views. This shows that more than half agreed with some or all of what Tate said.

The participants were asked which area of Tate’s advice they found useful – they were given the following options, to choose one aspect, or all – finance, relationships, or mental health. Approximately 1 in 3 did not find any of Tate’s advice useful, and 1 in 8 chose all three. Overall, most related to his advice on mental health.

Tate’s views on women are well known to many, yet only a small percent of participants, around 6%, found their attitudes toward women had changed. This suggests that whilst some may support Tate, many may pick out advice that is relevant to them.

At the end of the survey, participants were asked to comment on how they were impacted by Andrew Tate. The most surprising results from the responses were the amount of people who found that Tate had a positive impact on them. Many who supported Tate saw him as standing up for men’s mental health, which they felt was being downplayed by society.

Answers included ‘He taught me that depression is beatable,’ ‘He motivated me to focus on the betterment of myself,’ ‘I’ve never been fitter, I’ve never had so much money.’

One of the responses, mentioned that he had come across Tate when he was in a tough place mentally. ‘Obviously someone in the position I was in, after self-harming and surging a suicide attempt, will listen to a figure who tells them to better themselves.’ He commented that he was able to pick and choose what information was relevant to him and did not agree with Tate’s views on women. ‘Andrew Tate encouraged me to better myself physically, emotionally and mentally… a bad person yes, criminal, possibly, but Tate has encouraged men like me to find the best in themselves.’

Despite evidence that some of the respondents felt that Tate had a positive impact on them, many respondents feared the negative impact Tate has had on men. One respondent commented ‘His ideologies are dangerous, archaic and unfounded,’ another saying that he appeals to ‘disenfranchised young men through lazy argumentation and populist rhetoric to radicalise them.’ One respondent also suggested that the younger male generation viewed Tate as a God and someone who they aspire to be. ‘They see him as someone who has genuinely cracked the code to being successful.’

A significant number of respondents found that Tate had a negative impact amongst their family and friends, one even receiving homophobic and sexist comments from a family member. Another respondent commented that Tate had a ‘profound impact’ on his friends. He suggested that it began with them listening to Tate for fitness and finance advice, then spiralled to more extreme views. The respondent added, ‘It’s scary how easily people can be led into radical ideology simply through relatable content.’ This correlates to another respondent’s viewpoint. This respondent suggested that many men watched videos on generic advice on issues like mental health. Tate’s content is then ‘being served to them automatically by social media platforms through the virtue of him mixing mundane and extremist content in his posts.’

Ulster University Wellbeing Services were contacted to provide a statement on these findings. Their Wellbeing Manager for the Belfast Campus, Drew Neill, stated, ‘People are coming when it gets to real crisis points instead of seeing us when they’re maybe wanting to identify solutions for themselves before it gets to crisis point… So, it’s often the quick win I think to go to those social media influencers.’ He further added, ‘I don’t think we’re ever going to compete with social media because it’s there in your hand…but if we can just try and promote the face-to-face stuff and really be there to talk to people, I think that’s a good starting point.’

The research for this article was aimed at finding out whether Tate has had an influence on men in university. The results indicate that Tate has had both a negative and positive influence. He has fuelled many heated debates online and has even caused frictions within friendship groups. Regardless of anyone’s opinions, it seems the support for him is more nuanced than what it outwardly appears to be. It is not black and white. It is not a case of whether he is good or evil. It spurs on the question on why people follow him when he is condemned by a significant proportion of society.

One respondent summarised – ‘Nobody gets that famous without at least something they say resonating with the average person, and he wouldn’t have gotten that famous without people talking about him.’

Andrew Tate has not responded to an email offering him an opportunity to comment.