A lucrative scheme for young men that helped ‘extreme misogynist’ Andrew Tate go viral on social media has been shut down.
Hustler’s University, an online academy for Tate fans promising to help them earn thousands of pounds, has shut down its affiliate marketing program, saying it has “no future”.
The program had allowed Tate subscribers to earn commissions for signing up new members and encouraged them to post videos of him to get as many referrals as possible.
This led to thousands of videos of the former kickboxer and reality TV star being posted on social media, generating thousands of referrals and propelling Tate to viral fame.
The widely shared content included videos of him saying that women are a man’s property, that rape victims are responsible for their own assaults and that he talked about hitting and choking women, trashing their belongings and prevent them from leaving. In another, he described how he would deal with a woman who accused him of cheating: “It’s hitting with the machete, hitting her in the face and grabbing her by the neck. Shut up bitch. Women’s advocacy groups and charities called the material “extreme misogyny” and said it risked radicalizing young men.
A Observer A survey earlier this month revealed how subscribers were explicitly encouraged to create ‘arguments’ and ‘war’ by posting deliberately controversial clips that would attract high engagement and views, thus driving more subscriptions to Hustler University. On TikTok, where videos of him have been widely distributed to young users by the algorithm, content tagged with Tate’s name has been viewed more than 12 billion times.
The closure of the affiliate program means the loss of a key source of income for Tate and comes as Hustler University’s membership statistics, which costs £36 a month, show it currently has around 109,000 members, up from 127,000 two weeks ago. A post on the Hustler’s Community online forum told members not to worry about the affiliate program shutting down, adding that an “exciting” update to the platform was coming soon.
Social media companies have taken steps to reduce the spread of Tate content in recent weeks. TikTok users say they are now being shown fewer videos of him and many accounts have been banned. TikTok said: “Misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated on TikTok. We have been removing violent videos and accounts for weeks, and are happy to hear that other platforms are also taking action against this. individual.”
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said on Friday it had taken down official Tate accounts for violating its policies on dangerous organizations and individuals. Tate had 4.7 million Instagram followers at the time of his account deletion, up from around 1 million in June.
The action on social platforms has sparked allegations of censorship from fans, with Tate saying: “Banning me only inspires more hate mobs on the internet and more division. It will become a weapon of attack for different viewpoints for the foreseeable future.
But it has been welcomed by anti-extremism groups who have warned that its material risks radicalizing young audiences. Joe Mulhall, research director at Hope Not Hate, a UK advocacy group, said: ‘Tate poses a real threat to young men, radicalizing them towards extremism, misogyny, racism and homophobia. In a post on Hustler University’s Discord server on August 15, a community leader told members that a decision had been made to shut down the affiliate marketing program, saying “although it has had a lot of success, he had some problems”.
The post claimed that a reason for its closure was that Tate’s content had been “used out of context and in poor taste by many students desperate to draw attention to their profiles”, leading media platforms social to act.
However, the instructions to members, which have since been removed, show that they were explicitly advised to post controversial content to gain high views and engagement.
A guide for college students said attracting “comments and controversy” was key to success on TikTok, adding: “What you want ideally is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40- 30% haters. You want arguments, you want war.
Earlier this month, Stripe, the payment provider, pulled out of digital payment processing for Hustler University. On August 10, a “teacher” (senior member) of the Hustler’s University community posted: “Unfortunately, Stripe is down right now. Your links will no longer be able to collect payments.
Stripe said it hasn’t commented on individual cases, but its policy prohibits certain types of financial activity, including “get-rich-quick schemes.” Members of Hustler University, including boys as young as 13, had been told they could earn up to £10,000 a month through courses in crypto investing and drop shipping, and by recruiting others through the affiliate program.
Tate told the Observer it was a “huge shame” that he was deleted by Instagram and urged him to be reinstated. He said “internet sensationalism” had “pretended the idea that I [sic] anti women when nothing could be further from the truth,” adding that he has donated to charities to benefit women.
“It’s very unfortunate that old videos of me playing a comedic character have been taken out of context and amplified to the point where people believe absolutely false stories about me,” he said. “I am truly innocent. I truly believe that God will prevail.
He did not immediately comment on the shutdown of the affiliate marketing program, but said previous reviews, including claims that it was a pyramid scheme, were “all false”.