JENNI MURRAY: Is Andrew Tate, the most toxic man on the internet, brainwashing your son to despise girls?
- Jenni Murray explains worrying toxic influence of Andrew Tate on teenage boys
- A mum of two grown-up boys, she gives advice to parents on how to tackle Tate
- Also: Why she is a fan of BA’s new ‘beautifully tailored and practical’ jumpsuit
- READ MORE: Rishi’s daft to ditch childcare reform. Jenni: We need mums in work
If you haven’t heard of Andrew Tate, but have a teenage son, ask him, ‘Who’s this Tate guy everybody’s talking about?’ His answer will have you worried. Very worried indeed.
All that time you’ve spent raising your boy to be polite, kind, thoughtful and, most important, fully on board with the idea that women and girls are to be treated as absolute equals with the right to education, opportunity and physical autonomy. Your heart will sink as you realise that time was wasted, as your beloved boy reveals himself to be one of the millions of young followers of ‘this Tate guy’.
Andrew Tate has been a huge influence on young boys since he appeared on Big Brother in 2016. In 2015 he had been accused of rape and physical abuse in the UK, but no charges were brought. He and his brother had set up an online business which saw women perform sexual acts on webcams.
Growing his brand online, he became a hero to young men thrilled by his advice on how to get rich quick, own flashy cars and attract and keep women by operating with what can only be described as ‘toxic masculinity’.
Andrew Tate (centre) has been a huge influence on young boys since he appeared on Big Brother in 2016. In 2015 he had been accused of rape and physical abuse in the UK, but no charges were brought. He and his brother (right) had set up an online business which saw women perform sexual acts on webcams
His online ‘lessons’ argue rape does not exist because women are responsible for their sexual assaults. Ah yes, the old argument, ‘She was asking for it’. He tells his followers women are the property of men, that they should stay in the house — the bedroom or the kitchen — and submit to the will of their husbands, controlled with physical violence.
He tells his followers he speaks only the truth as a ‘freedom fighter’ and explains how they should defend themselves from any trouble they might get from following his ideas.
On the question of fighting for freedom, he’s not doing so well. He’s in prison in Romania accused of rape, human trafficking and forming an organised crime group to exploit women. He denies the allegations but his toxic influence continues online on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
He gives entrepreneurial advice on how to be confident and financially successful and reassures boys, in the era of #MeToo, that they needn’t worry because, ‘Females don’t have independent thought. They don’t come up with anything. They’re just empty vessels, waiting for someone to install the programming.’
Such Andrew Tate videos have been viewed more than 12.7billion times, the misogyny then copied by others. He has an online ‘Hustlers’ University’ for which he charges £41 a month. At the time of writing this, the website was up and running and it was still easy to find his vile videos online.
It’s not difficult to see why anxious, unsure teenage boys might be attracted to the idea of making loads of money, driving fast cars and getting girls by whatever means with no fear of censure. But it can’t continue. Violence against women is illegal. Rape is never the fault of the woman.
One teacher said interest in him had made boys more hostile. ‘You used to have to deal with sexist stuff,’ she told The Times. ‘But now it is explicitly connected to Andrew Tate — the boys do not stop talking about him.’
My advice if you’re dealing with the Tate problem. Express how much it pains you that they might think you should be kept in the kitchen or bedroom and beaten to make you comply, says Jenni (pictured)
Schools clearly have a role in tackling such vile promotion of sexual violence, coercive control or rape, but the women closest to these vulnerable boys are their parents and, since Tate’s arrest, Mumsnet has been buzzing with mothers concerned that their sons have been brainwashed by Tate.
One posted, ‘I had no idea my son had been following this influencer and he’s almost a hero figure to my 17-year-old. It seems he made his money from producing pornography and he rails against everything we stand for as a family. How should I handle this? My son is not easy to deal with at times. Withdrawn, taciturn, the usual teenage stuff. I don’t think removing his phone is the answer. I need him to stay onside and see what his icon is really like.’
What a nightmare and one which I, mercifully, don’t have to face. My two boys are grown-up men and would be no more likely to view Tate as a hero than I would. The pleas of women going through it now took me back 20 years when I was in the midst of mothering taciturn, withdrawn teenage boys with an interest in women.
There was not much internet at home and phones offered nothing but calls, but it was the time of the lads’ mags. Inevitably, pictures of naked women started to go up onto bedroom walls and I hated it. How could my sons think it was OK to objectify, stereotype and, in my view, oppress my sex?
I explained I was upset that such images should hang in my house. I didn’t think they were being dirty, just thoughtless.
They asked if a woman in a bikini would be OK? Just one, I agreed. The naked ones came down and they grew up to respect women as I do.
My advice if you’re dealing with the Tate problem. Express how much it pains you that they might think you should be kept in the kitchen or bedroom and beaten to make you comply.
Remind them you’re a woman. What son wants to hurt or upset his mother?
Why I’m a fan of BA’s new jumpsuit
Designed by Ozwald Boateng, the jumpsuit is beautifully tailored, practical, professional and fits the term flight attendant
I love the new British Airways jumpsuit uniform, as, I’m sure, would an old friend of mine who used to be a BA air hostess — or ‘air hostitute’ as she called herself.
She’d return exhausted after a long-haul flight, describing how she had ‘walked across the Atlantic’, fighting off lewd approaches from passengers and comments about the loveliness of her legs in the short skirt.
Designed by Ozwald Boateng, the jumpsuit is beautifully tailored, practical, professional and fits the term flight attendant — while not inviting any flirting. She’d have adored it.
Harry’s so wrong about Camilla
Far from wicked, Camilla’s a complete delight and, frankly, there has been no greater pleasure than to see two older people, once denied their love for each other, united at last in glowing happiness
So many of Harry’s revelations have infuriated me. None more so than his critique of his stepmother — the Queen Consort.
Far from wicked, she’s a complete delight and, frankly, there has been no greater pleasure than to see two older people, once denied their love for each other, united at last in glowing happiness.
Nor do I have any difficulty with King Charles’s attachment to his teddy bear. I still have mine from 1951.
Proof Walt Disney couldn’t draw
Don, too, was a wonderful cartoonist. He asked Disney to draw Mickey Mouse for a picture to accompany the interview. ‘Ah, I’m no good at drawing,’ Walt confided. ‘You do it and I’ll sign it.’
It’s the 100th anniversary of Disney and it’s always been assumed that Walt Disney was a brilliant cartoonist.
My old TV editor in Southampton, Don Osmond, let out a secret, long after Disney’s death in 1966.
As a young reporter on the local newspaper, he was sent out to interview his hero on a great ocean liner as it came into port.
Don, too, was a wonderful cartoonist. He asked Disney to draw Mickey Mouse for a picture to accompany the interview.
‘Ah, I’m no good at drawing,’ Walt confided. ‘You do it and I’ll sign it.’
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