With the recent horrifying news of elite metropolitan police officer David Carrick being uncovered as a serial rapist it’s clear that hateful and vile physical and sexual abuse towards women is still as rife as ever in society, even from those supposedly trying to protect us. Carrick committed 48 rapes, and humiliated and assaulted women over a 20-year period, becoming one of the worst sex offenders in modern history. The force ignored eight warnings about Carrick’s abusive behaviour, highlighting the woeful rate at which women’s claims of abuse are disregarded – and the misogyny still clearly ingrained throughout society. According to Rape Crisis, In England and Wales, more than 99% of rape charges do not end in a conviction, while out of over 70,000 recorded rapes only just over 2,000 resulted in charges – not including an actual conviction. A damning revelation on just how unserious these crimes towards women are taken.
While misogyny has clearly been a long-standing issue throughout our history, there’s no denying that hateful views and actions towards women are seeing an increase in popularity thanks to a selection of viral stars (which we’ll get into shortly). If you’ve been on social media over the last few years, you’ve probably come across the word ‘incel’ – a member of an online community of young men unable to attract women, who typically present views that are hostile to women. Previously, these incels only occupied the dark corners of 4chan and other infamous internet forums, yet, thanks to one man – Andrew Tate – these views are now accepted by millions.
Tate’s rise to fame was one of the most surreal and inescapable moments of 2022. Through an incredibly well-calculated method that saw him clipped all across social media, Tate topped Google’s ‘Who is’ search list for 2022, practically taking over the internet. However, as we all now know, it was for all the wrong reasons. Despite marketing himself as a saviour of masculinity here to turn around the fortunes of the lost men in the world, the “Top G” often resorted to disgraceful and blatant misogyny for clicks – referring to women as “property,” claiming they “bear responsibility” for sexual assaults and comparing them to “dogs.” However, it is the most recent news surrounding Tate that is the most shocking and vile. After boasting about his (supposedly completely legal) camgirl business for years online, Tate’s world finally came crashing down on December 28th, when he and his brother, Tristan, were taken into custody by Romanian authorities. The charges? Organised crime, human trafficking and rape. While many celebrated his arrest, his loyal supporters sprung to his defence, sprouting conspiracy theories in defence of their hero, claiming he was attacked by ‘the matrix’ – a term Tate often uses to refer to the corrupt society he believes we all live in, and that wants to see him taken down.
But Tate’s alleged dark past runs even deeper than his most recent charges. As reported by VICE, Tate was accused of raping a woman in November 2013 in the UK – which subsequently led to him being kicked off Big Brother. She supplied messages from Tate that read “I love raping you,” and a voice note where he states, “am I a bad person? Because the more you didn’t like it, the more I enjoyed it. I fucking loved how much you hated it. It turned me on. Why am I like that? Why?” Yet stunningly, police decided to drop charges due to “an ounce of doubt” in the case. Of course, Tates army of women-hating incels came to his defence once more, accusing the woman of lying, clout chasing (despite the accusation being reported 10 years ago) and labelling VICE as fake news. In one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on the issue of false rape allegations, the Home Office concluded that about 3% of rape cases in England and Wales probably involved false allegations. So why are his fans so quick to bash a woman who in all statistical likelihood is telling the truth? Because that’s exactly what Tate’s ideology breeds. Women are nothing but objects whose only desire is to leech off your finances – so why would his followers ever believe anything else?
The 36 year old’s ideologies have spread far and wide, and, unfortunately, have spawned a myriad of copycat influencers who simply regurgitate Tate’s opinions word for word – and sometimes, somehow take it even further. Take Sneako, for example, a once revered 24-year-old YouTuber whose earlier artistic, introspective and thought-provoking content earned him over one million subscribers on the platform. But after the rise of Tate, Sneako’s content shifted dramatically, and much like the infamous influencer, he realised that misogyny and hate would drive more and more traffic to his live streams. Those streams, which picked up millions of views throughout 2022, saw Sneako go off on hateful, misogynistic and even racist tyrades – which included disgracefully simulating sexual assault against fellow YouTuber ChadChad, after she labelled him an incel for his derogatory content.
Eventually, Sneako was banned from the platform he practically grew up on, with Twitter following suit, leaving him with only his Instagram account – that is until Elon Musk’s takeover saw his account reinstated. However, following in his idol’s footsteps, he began streaming on the free speech platform Rumble, where his mindless rants of misogyny and conspiracy theories still pick up thousands of live viewers today. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also built up a relationship with Kanye West, working on video content for the disgraced rapper and describing him as “the last opportunity America has,” – which should tell you all you need to know about Sneako. Even with more and more evidence coming to light, including the VICE report detailing Tate’s alleged abusive and manipulative behaviour, Sneako has continued to defend his biggest inspiration – and probably will continue to do so even if Tate is found guilty. Following his de-platforming, Sneako’s views have, unsurprisingly, lowered on Rumble, yet he still has over 150,000 followers on the platform and over 200,000 and 500,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram, respectively. There’s no denying Sneako’s influence over his young and impressionable audience is still incredibly powerful. “If I disappear, I’m passing the torch to you. Keep spreading the message,” is what Tristan Tate, Andrew’s younger brother, previously told the streamer, and it seems as though, sadly, he’ll continue to do just that.
The almost inescapable popularity of these influencers is a reflection of where our society is heading. From young children to grown adults with kids of their own, their fan bases aren’t just constricted to incels – they’ve managed to infiltrate pop culture on a level not quite seen before. These incredibly volatile messages prove that while we may have thought misogynistic views were beginning to seep out of society, in reality, people just got better at hiding them. All they needed was someone trendy and charismatic like Tate to eradicate their fear of sharing their true feelings about women. And yet, as discussed, even if Tate is convicted of his alleged crimes, these individuals have similar figures to look to, who have not, and never will, hold Tate accountable for his shameful actions. While a conviction would (hopefully) force some of his fans to self-reflect on their warped ideologies, it’s likely that most of them won’t. Incels will continue to ravage the internet, men will continue to undermine and abuse women, and influencers will keep reinforcing their beliefs.