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Andrew Tate is ‘brainwashing a generation of boys’. Schools are working to combat his messages

Alarmed by an online personality’s popularity among their students, teachers in the UK are mobilising to combat the sexism he promotes

As the 12- and 13-year-olds settle into a lecture hall at a school near London, the topic at hand is not human rights, historical events or different religions. “Andrew Tate,” a teacher says, pointing to a photograph projected on the wall. “What do you know about this man?”

Some boys giggle at the mention of the English-American social-media influencer, who is famed for his misogynist comments. One boy says he likes him because “he has a strong masculinity”, fast cars and a fit body. The teacher projects some of Tate’s claims, among them that women who are raped should bear some responsibility. A few boys agree.

“He is wrong,” says the teacher, Jake White. “That is a load of rubbish.”

In schools across Britain, educators are mobilising to fight back against Tate’s messages, belatedly realising the outsize influence he has among their students. The former kickboxer gained a following of millions with videos glorifying wealth and a particularly virulent brand of male chauvinism, before being barred last summer from many mainstream social-media sites.


In December the 36-year-old and his brother and business partner, Tristan Tate, were arrested in Romania on charges including rape and human trafficking. They are still in custody. Their lawyer there, Eugen Vidineac, said in an interview with the Turkish broadcaster TRT that they were innocent.

Neither the arrests nor the social-media bans have stopped Andrew Tate’s messaging from proliferating among young people, and his videos remain available online. Tate, who was born in Illinois but raised in Luton, near London, has said that women “belong” to men, should stay at home and need men’s direction. He has portrayed men as victims of feminism and false rape accusations, belittled men who do not adhere to his ways and promoted dubious get-rich schemes.

Tate first came to public attention when he appeared on Big Brother in 2016. He was thrown out when a video emerged of him hitting a woman with a belt. (Both he and the woman insisted it was consensual and not abuse.) Since then, as his video and audio snippets spread from TikTok to school corridors, far more adults have become aware of Tate’s existence, and traction.

Believing that schools are a microcosm of society — and a preview of its future — teachers say it is crucial to target Tate’s influence early. Since the autumn, principals have sent letters to parents warning of his reach, and Britain’s education secretary has said that influencers like Tate could reverse the progress made in countering sexism.

British schools were already reckoning with what officials have recognised as an endemic culture of sexual harassment of students, leaving both young girls and boys feeling victimised and often unsure of the rules of interaction. Now, the country’s teachers are unexpectedly find themselves spending class time discussing Tate rather than their lessons.

“I am sad that I have taken up important curriculum time to talk about Andrew Tate,” says Chloe Stanton, an English teacher in east London. “But women have to fight enough in society without this type of attitude to deal with.”

In recent months, Stanton says, students have started bringing up Tate in class. They extol his wealth and fast cars. And for the first time in her 20 years of teaching, her 11- to 16-year-old students have challenged her for working and asked if she has her husband’s permission.

She has heard students talk casually about rape. “As the only woman in the room, I felt uncomfortable,” she says. Once, a student asked her if she was going to cry. At home, even her own three sons have seemed to defend Tate.

“He is brainwashing a generation of boys, and it’s very frightening,” she says. “They seem to think he is right. He’s right because he’s rich.”

In the English midlands, Nathan Robertson, a specialist who works with students who need additional support, says that in the past year he has regularly heard Tate broadcasting from students’ smartphones. Many in a class of 14- and 15-year-olds he works with cite Tate as a role model. When the topic of abortion came up in class, boys began laughing, he says, and called feminism poisonous. Some said that women do not have any rights and that men should make decisions for them.

One student wants to know why it’s wrong to say it is a woman’s responsibility to protect herself if she is walking alone at night. Another asks what the difference is between coercion and seduction. A third boy wants to discuss false accusations of sexual assault

At a school in Belfast, a line popularised by Tate to deride people who do not own luxury cars — “What color is your Bugatti?” — has become widespread, says Charlotte Carson, a history and civics teacher.

At first, teachers tried to avoid taking on Tate’s views directly, for fear of giving them a platform. But once they grasped his popularity, they decided that countering his influence took priority.

Though there are no official figures, teachers and administrators around the UK say that school-based efforts have become quite common.

One morning at Merchant Taylors’, an all-boys school in London, a lecture hall of 16- to 18-year-olds fidget in their seats as two sex and relationship experts ask them to explain Tate’s appeal. They promise that no one will get in trouble.

“It’s the feeling that men are still being looked down upon,” says one boy at the front.

“So he empowered young men who were feeling hard done by?” asks Allison Havey, a founder of the RAP Project, which runs the workshop. “Yes,” the boy says.

One student wants to know why it’s wrong to say it is a woman’s responsibility to protect herself if she is walking alone at night. Another asks what the difference is between coercion and seduction. A third boy wants to discuss false accusations of sexual assault.

Though it is mandatory for schools in Britain to teach relationship and sexual education, Tate’s appeal has pushed the RAP Project and other groups, which have long run such workshops, to delve more deeply into definitions of misogyny and masculinity.

The school where White teaches, the Epping St John’s Church of England school, northeast of London, has organised a weeklong series of assemblies in response to Tate’s arrest and his obvious hold on young people. Three male teachers lead the sessions (“The boys look up to these guys,” says Mike Yerosimou, the principal), and although misogyny is not their field of expertise, they have researched and prepared along with some women colleagues.

They ask students to discuss some of Tate’s quotes with a partner. One boy, who says he watches more than 10 of Tate’s videos every day, is concerned that a woman could ruin a man’s life by falsely accusing him of rape.

The teachers play videos about sexual harassment and toxic masculinity and try to debunk Tate’s views. They say that being a man is in fact about qualities like respect, “loyalty” and “quiet reassurance”.

After the students leave, the teachers wonder if the class will have any effect.

Many teachers say that Tate’s influence is particularly hard to defeat because his lavish lifestyle, quick wit and success attract young boys. As they have already warmed to him, they accept his misogynistic views.

“In this society, material success conveys a sort of being right,” says Michael Conroy, the founder of Men at Work, a group that trains teachers and youth workers to support young men. “And he is combining that with very dangerous messages.”

Those messages, teachers say, have found fertile ground among young boys wrestling with questions of how to be a man at a time when traditional gender roles are being challenged. Sensitive to terms like “toxic masculinity”, which for some can feel like a personal attack, some boys find in Tate a validation of that anxiety, through a worldview that casts men as victims. His arrest, they say, reinforces that narrative of victimisation.

“He is handing to these boys a script to respond to their dissatisfaction,” says Carson, the history teacher in Belfast.

Whether Tate is worsening society’s misogyny or merely reflecting it is a point of contention among educators.

“Those ideas and those thoughts existed before Andrew Tate,” says Robertson, the outreach specialist in the English midlands. “But some patterns of misogyny have increased as a result of him becoming more popular.”

Teachers believe it is their job in part to help students understand that despite Tate’s popularity, his views are outside the mainstream. “We have to help educate them, because the world has changed,” says Deana Puccio, a founder of the RAP Project. “The great thing about Andrew Tate is that we’re finally having the conversation.” – This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in The New York Times