Andrew Tate is still influencing boys in schools with harmful and misogynistic ideologies despite being detained in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking and rape, teachers and school leaders have warned.
Since his arrest, Mr Tate’s Twitter account is still posting to his 5.3 million followers, while fan-made clips of him continue to circulate widely on TikTok and YouTube, despite him not having his own account on either platform.
Teachers and school speakers have told i that the former kickboxer is still highly popular with many school-age boys, with “free Andrew Tate” heard around school corridors after his arrest. They said some students still refer to him as “Top G” – a slang abbreviation of “Top Gangster,” in admiration of him.
They say that some school pupils are of the view that Mr Tate’s arrest was part of a conspiracy by “powerful people trying to silence him.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), expressed “serious concern” over the “rising amount of misogynistic material in circulation, including that propagated by Andrew Tate”.
He called on the Government to provide more support and resources to help schools counter such ideologies, saying: “schools cannot fight this battle on their own.”
Former headteacher Andrew Hampton said teachers are “deeply worried that Tate’s extreme version of misogyny is taking hold amongst some boys and is leading to abusive behaviours”.
However, the author of Working with Boys, a book about how to create mutual respect in schools, said it was important that schools did not channel a “boy-bashing agenda”, leaving them feeling “alienated, denigrated and angry at lessons which seem to imply that inside every boy is a potential abuser”.
When asked about Mr Tate’s influence in schools, the Government said it will publish guidance later this year on how to “create a culture of respectful relationships” and how to teach pupils about sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The Department for Education has brought forward a review of the sex education curriculum “after concerns were raised”, a spokesperson added.
Jane Kenyon, who runs programmes in schools to empower girls, asked boys what they thought of Mr Tate after his arrest and said the responses were “depressing”. She said: “They were not in the least concerned about why he got arrested they simply reiterated how cool he was because he was rich and anti-establishment.”
The founder and CEO of Girls Out Loud told i she has noticed a “massive shift in boys’ behaviour” in schools since Mr Tate became a prominent figure on social media.
She said: “There’s far more misogynistic behaviour in schools that is normalised and that is not really picked up on because schools don’t really know how to pick up on it, they don’t know what to do.”
Ms Kenyon has worked in schools for 14 years and has noticed an increase in sexual harassment and sexual assault over that period of time, with some boys showing “very little respect” for the girls, and some girls “normalising that”.
“This is a combination of misogyny, the Andrew Tates of this world, and the fact that we mainstreamed porn about 10 years ago,” she said.
Peter Radford, a school speaker who gives talks on equality and inclusion, said most teachers had not heard of Mr Tate before he was arrested but are now attempting to “back-peddle” to address the “overt misogynist behaviour” he appears to have caused.
“A lot of schools have been fairly slow on the uptake and are now trying to backpedal and address it,” he said. “But I’m noticing these sorts of attitudes and behaviours among clusters of boys.”
Mr Radford, who founded Beyond This, a company that offers workshops and talks to schools, suggested that Mr Tate’s arrest had only “solidifed” support for him because his backers have framed it as him “soldiering on against the dark force of ‘wokism’ that’s trying to cancel us all.”
“His arrest, and the charges on which he’s arrested, doesn’t seem to have even caused his following to blink,” he said.
Joe Mulhall, director of research at anti-extremism charity Hope Not Hate, said Mr Tate’s fans view his arrest as a “conspiracy”, believing and pushing the message that he is detained because “powerful people want to silence him” and not because he has committed any of the alleged crimes.
“Rather than considering whether he has committed the crimes he is accused of they have instantly declared him innocent and believe that his arrest is part of a conspiracy by ‘the matrix’ to take him down and stop his influence,” he told i.
Mr Radford has noticed the extremist conspiracy theory trickling into schools, with boys reacting to conversations about Mr Tate’s arrest by saying there is “no evidence” against him and that his arrest is “proof that people want to silence him”.
He has noticed boys spouting Mr Tate’s “three lives” conspiracy theory that he shared on several podcasts ahead of his arrest.
Speaking on the Full Send podcast last month, Mr Tate, 36, said: “First you get cancelled, then they make up a reason to put you in jail and if that fails, they kill you. Now I’m down to my last two lives, it’s scary because they’ve given me the warning and I’m still running my mouth.”
The former kickboxing champion and his brother, Tristan, were arrested in December on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group. As Mr Tate was taken away in handcuffs, he could be heard saying “the matrix has attacked me” to cameras at the scene.
He has been pictured making a triangle shape with his hands, which is understood to be used in circles of conspiracy theorists to signify secret societies such as the Freemasons and the Illuminati.
The brothers’ detention has been extended for the third time and they will remain in custody until at least the end of March. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.
Teachers have called on schools to be “hyper-vigilant” about conversations about Mr Tate in the coming months, especially when it comes to misinformation.
Kirsty Pole, a teacher in the Midlands, said: “Teachers are going to have to be extra vigilant in order to address that misinformation.
“It’s also about keeping teachers and staff up to date with what’s happening because only when we’re informed ourselves, can we have those conversations and address those worries with pupils.
“When Andrew Tate comes back into the mainstream media over the next few months, making sure that staff have got all of the facts first is going to be a really important factor in then addressing any pupil conversations that we hear.”
She said some school leaders and teachers seem to be avoiding opening up conversations about him in the hope that he will fade from public interest. “But while he is still being mentioned, I think it’s important to explain to the kids why he’s been detained,” she said.
Ms Pole has opened up these conversations in response to hearing comments such as “free Andrew Tate” around school corridors and said most students have been receptive.
However, the problem of misogyny in schools also exists “outside” of Mr Tate’s influence and that needs to be addressed, she added.
Jake White, a teacher at Epping St. John’s Church of England School in Essex, decided to do an assembly to highlight the misogyny in Mr Tate’s messaging after hearing some students repeat sexist language.
The social media influencer has previously said women belong in the home, are a man’s property and that victims should “bear responsibility” for being raped.
“We don’t want our young boys going into adult life thinking like that so we decided to do something,” he said, but added that there is not a “one size fits all” solution to the problem.
Mr White said students responded “quite well” to the assembly, which was given by three male teachers, and that chatter around Mr Tate has “gone quiet” over the past few weeks. However, he anticipates the discussion will build up again as Mr Tate’s case progresses.
“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it and see what the lay of the land is with the students,” he said.
A Government spokesperson said: “All children deserve to grow up in a safe environment which is why we will be publishing further guidance later this year to provide practical advice on how to create a culture of respectful relationships, and how to teach about sexual harassment, sexual violence and stamping out violence against women and girls.
“We are clear that materials used in Relationships, Sex and Health Education must be factual and age appropriate, but we have brought forward a review of this statutory curriculum, after concerns were raised.
“We are also protecting children though our Online Safety Bill, by ensuring technology firms will be required to enforce their age limits to stop children from being exposed to harmful material online.”