Who is Andrew Tate and how did he become popular? What you should know

The former kickboxer and current influencer has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to TikTok but is mired in controversy for sexism, rape allegations and more.

 Andrew Tate (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Andrew Tate
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

British-American influencer and kickboxer Andrew Tate has skyrocketed as a divisive, controversial figure in recent weeks.

The 35-year-old former world champion kickboxer and 2016 Big Brother star has become a rising force in reactionary anti-feminist circles, helped in no small part to the launching of his paid subscription service Hustler's University and to offering training on "male-female interactions." 

Much of his popularity has been credited to his use of the social media platform TikTok, which specializes in sharing short-form videos. However, he is mired in controversy in both the court of public opinion and in the court of law, due in part to his controversial statements on sexual harassment and being the subject of an investigation surrounding rape and human trafficking claims.

But who really is Andrew Tate? And what exactly happened to make him so popular and infamous? 

Here is everything you need to know.

 Andrew Tate (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Andrew Tate (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Who is Andrew Tate?

Andrew Tate was born Emory Andrew Tate III and is the son of Emory Tate, a legendary trailblazer and innovator in the game of chess who was so skilled that he was reportedly given the nickname "Extraterrestrial."

But his son didn't take up chess like his father. Rather, after growing up in relatively poor financial conditions, he ventured into the world of martial arts. Over the years, Tate had become an International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) world champion multiple times, but his greater success and infamy would come outside of martial arts.

How much money does Andrew Tate have?

Over the years, Tate has accrued quite a large sum of money for himself. But the answer to exactly how much money that is depends on who you ask. 

In an interview with US Twitch streamer Adin Ross, Tate himself claimed to be a trillionaire - specifically, the world's first trillionaire.

It should be noted, however, that there are no trillionaires known to exist anywhere in the world. The current richest person in the world, as noted by Forbes and Bloomberg, is business mogul and investor Elon Musk, who is thought to be worth just shy of $250 billion.

According to CelebrityNetWorth, Tate is worth some $20 million. Essential Sports lists him as being worth $30 million. The Bio Overview puts his net worth at a far higher total of $350 million, though others put it at closer to $250 million.

In other words, how much money he has is the subject of considerable debate.

"I grew up broke and now I am a multi millionaire. I teach the deserving the secrets to modern wealth creation."

Andrew Tate on his website

How did Andrew Tate make his money?

Tate's fortune is derived from a number of sources. The first notable one is his business, run alongside his younger brother Tristan Tate, where scantily-clad women speak to callers at a rate of $4 per minute. This business, which also makes funds from collecting tips and private show fees, has the women claim to have a number of severe financial issues in order to wring more money from customers. 

Now, it is estimated that most, if not all, of these supposed financial issues aren't real. In fact, as Tristan Tate himself freely admitted in an interview with the UK newspaper the Mirror, the entire thing is a complete scam - one that he is guilt-free over because, as he put it, "no one cares."

"No one cares."

Tristan Tate on why he feels no guilt about scamming people

Not only is this a scam, though, but it is also entirely legal, something confirmed to the Mirror by a UK attorney. As such, it has allowed them to collect a considerable amount of money.

But Tate has other business ventures as well, most of them rooted in the idea that he teaches how to get rich and be a successful man. 

As his own website, cobratate.com, notes: "I grew up broke and now I am a multi-millionaire. I teach the deserving the secrets to modern wealth creation."

His website is filled with links and advice, offering tips such as how to connect with ambitious and successful men, how to stay in shape and more.

These lessons come with a number of programs and courses, which can be purchased on Tate's website.

But then there is also Hustler's University, a subscription service for $49 that allows people  to learn, as Tate puts it, "fields that ANYONE ANYWHERE can do NOW to get rich." These topics range from cryptocurrency, stock analysis, e-commerce and more.

In addition to all of this, Tate also is involved in the casino industry, operating a number of casinos in Romania, where he now resides. This is something that has attracted considerably less attention than other business ventures, though it has proven to be considerably profitable and has likely earned him millions in revenue.

What happened to Andrew Tate on Big Brother?

In 2016, Tate was a participant on the 17th season of the reality series Big Brother. However, he was kicked off after a video began circulating depicting the former kickboxer supposedly using a belt to beat a woman. This is something Tate has defended and claimed to be consensual, though the truthfulness of this claim is unknown.

"If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bear some responsibility."

Andrew Tate on victim blaming

What about accusations of Andrew Tate's misogamy?

Tate has been involved in a number of controversies, many of which seem to relate to a form of chauvinistic worldview. These controversies include being dismissive of mental illness, which he did in 2017 when he said depression isn't a real illness. 

But by far, Tate's biggest controversies are related to his remarks and actions regarding women, and to his sexual misconduct.

There are many well-documented instances of the said controversies. 

One such instance was his statement in 2017, amid the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, when he said that rape victims share some responsibility for what happened to them.

"A man looking at you or whistling at you or asking your name isn't harassment," Tate wrote at the time. 

"This belief does discredit as a whole. Stick to the serious definitions and stop pretending normal male behavior is rape."

He continued: "If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bare [bear] some responsibility. I’m not saying it's OK you got raped. No woman should be abused regardless. However with sexual assault, they want to put zero blame on the victim whatsoever."

In other posts shared online, Tate also said he dates women between the ages of 18 and 19 in order to "make an imprint" on them.

And in yet another video, he described using a machete and chocking a woman if she were to accuse him of infidelity.

Tate's controversies have seen him suspended from Twitter multiple times, although there was one incident in which he created a third Twitter account to avoid the ban. But rather than getting suspended right away, which is Twitter's policy, they instead verified him. However, this account was later suspended, however, and the verification was explained as an error.

"I'm not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free."

Andrew Tate on why he moved to Romania

How is Andrew Tate involved in rape and human trafficking accusations?

This is by far the most serious charge against him. 

In April, a report emerged that Tate's home in Romania was raided due to a human trafficking and rape charge. 

Supposedly, this was sparked by accusations that Tate was holding an American woman on his property against his will. However, details surrounding this case are still murky.

It should be noted that Tate himself once referred to his motivations for wanting to move to Romania in the first place.

In a since-deleted YouTube video, Tate said a significant reason for his move to Romania was that in Eastern European countries, it's easier to get out of rape charges.

According to reports discussing the video, Tate said "I'm not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free." 

Further, on their podcasts, the Tate brothers discussed the raid and were laughing.

As explained by Tristan, the woman was at a party at their home but her boyfriend found out via Instagram. She then claimed to him that she was being held against her will, which Tristan described as "bulls**t" and said "her boyfriend is obviously one of those believe all females. She was a hoe, she wasn't even hot, she was ugly."

 TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021.  (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC) TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
How has Andrew Tate become so popular?

While Tate has always been controversial, recent months have seen him suddenly spike in fame and notoriety at a rapid pace.

Indeed, in July 2022, reports indicate that Andrew Tate was searched on Google more often than Donald Trump.

Much of this can be attributed to TikTok, where videos are being shared throughout the platform to the point where he has been viewed over 11.6 billion times.

But this does not tell the full story. Rather, according to evidence obtained by the Observer, this was a far more methodical and coordinated effort orchestrated by Tate himself.

According to this evidence, thousands of Tate's followers are being instructed to circulate videos of Tate on the platform, specifically using controversial clips to gain the most views and engagement possible, all while manipulating the app's algorithm to be further promoted to the platform's young userbase.

This has been a massive success for him and has seen his popularity and infamy skyrocket.

This, in turn, sees him gain a stronger following among his target demographic: Young men in English-speaking countries that lack direction and feel lost, especially among those already predisposed to anti-feminist and reactionary ideologies.