The Incel Hate for Andrew Tate
Sian Norris reports from the incel forums on their reaction to the Tik-Tok influencer’s arrest – and the reaction is not what you would expect
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“Normies think all guys in the manosphere are incels”, writes a man on the popular incel forum, incels.is. It’s an interesting comment in light of the focus on incel culture following the arrest in Romania of men’s rights British-American Tik-Tok influencer Andrew Tate (on allegations he denies).
As the poster says, often in media coverage of men’s rights issues, all subcultures get squashed into one. Ultimately, and importantly, whether an incel, a Red Pill or a MGTOW (men go their own way), all men’s rights subcultures share one defining, disturbing characteristic: they hate women.
But while we assume all groups would share the same heroes and tactics, the reality is more complex – as the incel response to the Tate arrest shows.
For readers unfamiliar with the dark spaces of online misogyny, incels are men who claim they “struggle with or are unable to get into romantic relationships with women”, according to the ‘about’ section on a popular forum.
The reality is that this online space is a hot bed of violent misogyny, where men fantasise about anally and orally raping women and girls, undercutting their abusive imaginings by claiming it’s all “in a video game”. This is a tactic, according to the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, to “present potentially illegal content as ironic”.
The community has been back in the headlines following Tate’s arrest on human trafficking, rape and organised crime charges over the Christmas break. The former kickboxer is known for palling around with far-right characters, running a pick-up-artist ‘university’ to help men ‘get’ women, and claiming rape victims should “bear responsibility” for their attacks.
Tate has long been a known figure in men’s rights circles, including incel spaces, due to his views about women and his selling of a ‘red pill’ lifestyle: that men need to go from beta male to alpha male via fitness and ‘gaming’ women into sex.
The Red Pill movement – named from the Matrix movie – grew in the 2010s on an online Reddit forum. The misogynistic subculture celebrated President Donald Trump as an ‘alpha male’ when women alleged sexual harassment against him.
Increasingly, Tate has been linked to the incel community, as greater awareness of misogynistic online subcultures led to his social media accounts being banned – although Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk reinstated his profile.
This is, in part, because there is little understanding that while all men’s rights subcultures share a hatred of women, not all men’s rights subcultures are the same. Normies might think all guys in the manosphere are incels, but incels certainly don’t.
In fact, many incels greeted the news of Tate’s arrest with glee.
A thread published on 30 December titled “happiness thread for Andrew Tate arrest” featured members of incels.is discuss their hope that the Tate brothers should “spend the rest of their lives behind bars” and that “Andrewf*g … should’ve been kept in jail”. Tate is “not on our side” writes one, while another explains that he’s “glad a s****y redpiller got arrested and in such a dumba** way too”.
It’s not black and white: some incels see Tate as an ally, because he “blackpilled” lots of men (blackpill is a more extreme, nihilistic version of the red pill); or argue that because ‘foids’ (an incel term for women) hate him then incels should to.
Others are concerned about men being accused of sexual offences – incel culture is often supportive of rape, for example. One man shares how he has had sex with “trafficked Romanian prostitutes”, suggesting admiration for Tate’s cam girl operation. “Incels hating on Tate doesn’t make any sense”, another muses.
Threads from before his arrest were also more complimentary: “he makes soyf*gs and foids seethe. That’s pure entertainment” wrote an incel on a thread titled “I’m REALLY Jealous of Andrew Tate”. But even on a thread titled “Andrew Tate Is Based”, from August, he was criticised for being “gynocentric” and since the end of December, the majority of posts on threads discussing Tate’s arrest are positive about his downfall.
If you are surprised that members of the manosphere would be gleeful that Tate – a man who got rich from lucrative misogyny – has been arrested, that’s understandable. But the reaction shows how there has been a tendency to see all men’s rights subcultures as one and the same, when in fact they are factional, riven with disagreement, and operating in a weird hierarchy. All while sharing one overarching belief: that men are sexually entitled to women, who are inferior to men in all ways.
So why do incels hate Tate?
In part, it is the belief that men like Tate have “scammed” incels: as one forum member explains, he “operated a cam girls organisation, where incels threw their money to see foids”. This expresses a much wider men’s rights anger – that women manipulate and use their sexuality to get what they want from men. Tate’s exploitation of women to enrich himself is seen not as bad for women, but as bad for the men who pay for sexual entertainment. It also positions him as feminised – he is just as guilty as the ‘foids’ who (they believe) exploit men for financial gain.
Rather than seeing Tate as ‘based’ for exploiting women, they feel incels are victimised by him, just as they are by women.
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Another writes how “no one’s biggest ally here is a multi-millionaire playboy who sells red pill scams and shames younger incels for having nerdy hobbies like anime as if that’s the reason they don’t get laid”. He’s “just another scumbag grifter that ran a porn site” says one; “just another attention seeker like a foid”, writes another – a further example of feminising Tate.
One of the key drivers of anti-Tate feeling in the incel world comes from the community’s origin story: the hatred of Chads. These are alpha males who get “Staceys” – popular and desirable girls who incels feel rejected by. Some incels write on the threads that “I don’t really care about chads suffering… if he lives or dies I couldn’t care tbh”. “Chads getting ruined is always great”, explains another.
The positioning of Tate as a ‘Chad’ demonstrates one of the fissures between Red Pill and incel culture.
Men who take the ‘red pill’ aim to become alpha, in part through fitness. One of the biggest misconceptions about Tate, expressed in a profile in The Times, was that Tate’s message to young men to get fit and make money was somehow a positive, as opposed to the Red Pill playbook of how to move from beta male to alpha male (of course getting fit is positive, but not if it is only and always to express an alpha status over women and other men).
In contrast, incels often take a much more nihilistic view of the world. They see themselves as subhuman and ugly freaks. They are not motivated by fitness or money. They do share the Red Pill and wider manosphere belief, however, that they are entitled to women’s bodies for sex.
Other expressions of hate for Tate relate to discussion of his race (“the only reason he looks white is because he is tall”), his conversion to Islam, and antisemitic slurs. This is key to recognising how men’s rights is a gateway to extremist racism and white supremacy – the racist language and shaming of women who have sex with black and ethnic minority men across incel forums is disturbing and linked to far-right politics.
Of course, on the one hand, none of these subtleties between incels and Red Pills and Black Pills and even Blue Pills matter a huge amount. These are, after all, always men driven by a hatred of women and a belief that men are entitled to women’s bodies.
But understanding how different aspects of the manosphere operate can be helpful, too, not least when it comes to tackling the roots of online and offline violence and hate against women and girls from these subcultures.