Ever been to hell? I have. I watched the BBC last night. They’d brought so many ghouls out that I thought it was Halloween. Yep, the Beeb treated us to the double-whammy of professional misogynists: social media ‘influencers’ Andrew Tate on BBC News and Bacari-Bronze O’Garro (aka ‘Mizzy’) on Newsnight.
To be fair, unlike Tate, Mizzy, who’s made a name for himself by terrorising people for clicks on Tik Tok, had a couple of interesting things to say. Not least his criticism of the BBC for giving him — and Tate — a platform: ‘Everything I’m doing is bad apparently, is what you’re saying. I’m on BBC news, I mean, come on.’
Mizzy calls out BBC for platforming Andrew Tate #shorts
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It’s hard to argue with his logic. But what to do about these blokes and their toxic bile? When the media try and call them to account they risk legitimising them — and even extending their platform. Try and cut their oxygen, the attention on which they thrive, and risk passivity: allowing the venom to spread unchecked.
And that’s the trouble — and no small part of the success — with blokes like Andrew Tate: you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I mean, what is the appeal of this man? Seriously? I can’t detect even a modicum of charisma. He’s not even got a sense of humour. How is this person managing to attract the respect and adoration of so many? Then again, I suppose I’m very much not Tate’s target audience. From my perspective, he just seems a bit… well, derivative. The lad’s a cut-price Trump. Asked about the lure of Tate for young men, Mizzy told Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark that it was Tate’s ‘confidence and stride’ that attracted a following.
I can see that. Tate drips with confidence, like an abscess weeps with pus. But haven’t we seen all of his tricks before? Hasn’t he just plagiarised a few pages of Donald’s playbook? Aggressive conversational tactics? Tick! Dismissive and contemptuous of women — including the interviewer? Double tick and gold star! Patronising? Self-aggrandising? Refusal to acknowledge the evidence base of claims being put to him? Bloody hell, it’s a hat-trick! I’d see my lawyer about infringement of IP if I were Donald Trump.
Not that Tate’s followers care.
Andrew Tate: The Interview
Andrew Tate denied fuelling a culture of misogyny and defended his reputation.
There’s no doubt that Tate behaved like a first class w*nker during the interview and there’s no doubt that his fans lapped it right up. To reward his obfuscation, evasion and hostility, his fans took to social media to laud ‘The GOAT’ for ‘owning’ the BBC.
And the BBC interviews did seem misguided. It’s difficult for any interviewer to triumph over Tate’s Trump-esque tactics.
Like Trump, Tate’s real talent is his mastery of post-truth rhetoric. It’s a pretty simple schtick — all you need is an egregious sense of self-entitlement and arrogance that allows you to deny and dismiss facts and evidence with extraordinary, bewildering assurance. The same arrogance and lack of respect for others will also allow you to shout over the interviewer: after all, incisive questions are only effective if you can hear them.
That same arrogance will also allow you to patronise the BBC journalist interviewing you by telling them you’re doing them a ‘favour’ by allowing them access to you. Imagine being Lucy Williamson and having to stomach Andrew Tate telling you ‘I’m doing you the favour as legacy media, giving you relevance, by speaking to you’ when you asking about a woman’s testimonies of being pressured into sex work. Oh yes, like he says, Tate is truly ‘a force for good in the world.’
So, is the answer to no platform people like Tate? I’m not sure. There has to be some critique, some pushback, some accountability. But how to do that without playing along with Tate’s game? This article is also helping publicise him. Do we just stay quiet and let him trot on with his nasty little quest for global fame? The thing is, Tate will always find a platform. Starving him of press attention might seem like the obvious answer but, like a parasite, he seems to be able to thrive in even the most difficult conditions. Pushing him underground runs the risk of perpetuating his messiah complex and increasing his appeal.
I would say that someone as charmless and inarticulate as Tate won’t amount to much in the end. If we ignore him, then perhaps he’ll go away. I would say that, but recent history tells us that men like him get away with all sorts and still find support. Andrew Tate on the BBC News now… whatever next, a bid for US presidency? Be scared. Be very, very scared.