The Dangerous Philosophy of Andrew Tate

In 2022, Andrew Tate became one of the most controversial and divisive online influencers around.

The 36-year-old American-British commentator was arrested in Romania on December 29, along with his brother, Tristian, and two Romanian nationals, and charged with human trafficking.

The brothers are expected to remain in detention until February 27. Both have denied the charges leveled against them.

Following his arrest, there has been increased scrutiny into the online empire Tate built, his overall arching ideology and messaging, and his influence on followers, most notably young men.

The dangerous philosophy of Andrew Tate
Experts have told Newsweek why Andrew Tate represents a dangerous philosophy and highlighted the similarities he shares with cult leaders. Getty/Newsweek

'Marked by the Matrix as a Criminal'

Most recently, Tate has acknowledged his mass influence in the online space and has likened his arrest to that of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

In a message, sent behind bars, Tate said: "Scammers and demons walk amongst you.

"The Matrix is designed to promote an ideology that makes you weak, poor and alone.

"Negative influences are promoted and paraded to weaken you. While empowering influences get locked in a cell. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela.

"Once you reach a point of empowering influence, you're marked by the matrix as a criminal."

Experts have spoken to Newsweek and given their views on why Andrew Tate's philosophy is dangerous, highlighting his similarities with cult leaders.

The Appeal to Young Men

Janja Lalich, a sociologist, writer, and expert on cults, coercion, charismatic authority and power relations, told Newsweek that Tate, like many other influencers, speaks in a particular manner that attracts followers.

Speaking about the similarities between traditional cult leaders and Tate, she said: "The way in which the internet is now used by toxic persons, whatever you want to call them, is similar [to cult leaders] in that they present themselves as somebody very special.

"Someone who has a solution or answer, salvation or whatever for you.

"There becomes a popular trend around that person so people feel like they belong to some sort of community. This community of followers.

"It is similar to what I call the 'Brick and Mortar cult,' as opposed to the internet ones.

"They use the same kind of influence techniques. They do what we call love-bombing, they make people feel very special, they make people feel like they are on to something unique, that they are the only ones that have this.

"Then they also use things like guilt and shame and fear and other sorts of emotional tugs that get at people.

"They often financially exploit them, get them to pay for this, that or the other, this workshop or whatever."

Lalich also touched on how greatly young males can be influenced by figures like Tate who promote an image of wealth, success, and confidence.

She said: "I think because it is trendy, it is what the young people seem to be doing, spending an enormous amount of time on the internet. They are attached to their phones."

She continued: "I think there are still a lot of issues with self-esteem. [Young people] are at that age where they are looking for who to sort of follow, what to believe, who they want to be.

"They are vulnerable in that sense, because they are still forming their personality, they are still forming themselves. It is easy for them to latch on to something that seems really cool."

Lalich also said that a rise in support for "alpha male" influencers may have been a reaction to feminism.

She said: "I think in a way it is also a backlash to the feminist movement. The feminist movement has been so strong in the last several decades, since the 70s.

"I think young men are seeing that this is a kind of way out for them. Another point of view that isn't so women-identifying. They can follow this so-called macho guy."

'Misogynistic and Aggressive Views'

Daria Kuss, a professor of psychology at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., also spoke to Newsweek about Tate's online influence and his wider ideology.

Kuss, who possesses a wealth of knowledge in cyberpsychology, the psychology of internet and technology use and addictive behaviors, highlighted why mass followings for individuals like Andrew Tate could prove to be particularly harmful.

She told Newsweek: "Platforms like TikTok promote popular content like that of Tate to its users, exposing people to misogynistic and aggressive views and beliefs. Accordingly, there is an increase in inappropriate content proliferation and sharing, as well as copycat accounts."

Kuss also detailed how young men can be negatively impacted by following or "deifying" online influencers like Tate.

She said that this can increase "archaic" and outdated views of women and how they should be treated within society. She added this could reach such significant levels that actions of "domestic abuse" become normalized.

"Tate has been perpetuating and normalizing misogynist views, including that women are a man's property and should stay at home.

"He is encouraging his followers to take him as an example to base their own views and behaviors on.

"As a consequence, young people may believe these kinds of views to be normal and engage in inappropriate behaviors, including hate speech."

Pressure on the Social Media Industry

Going forward, the entire social media industry needs to take greater social responsibility on the messaging that occurs on their platforms, according to Kuss.

Kuss, who is also a member of the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC), a group that aims to "make the internet a great and safe place for everyone, said: "Governments must act to put in place policies and regulations to ensure the industry leaders meet these requirements."

"Harmful content must be banned and perpetrators sanctioned accordingly."

Kuss said parents of young people can also take an active role in preventing the influence these online personalities have on their children.

One of the key suggestions raised by Kuss was to build a trusting relationship so that children feel comfortable discussing what they are watching online so that parents can provide them with better guidance.

Lalich disagreed that the government should get involved in dictating where people can go on the internet but also called for greater vigilance regarding the influence people can have overall on large groups.

She did agree greater discussion about coercion and manipulation was needed to educate society.

She said that with greater critical thinking from society as a whole, people would better be able to spot dangerous philosophies and prevent other toxic influencers from gaining traction.