Teachers and parents are sounding alarm bells over controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate and say his problematic content has become prevalent in some New Zealand school playgrounds.
It comes as education officials have been warned about a possible “generation of radicals”, stemming from the views of Tate – who describes himself as the “king of toxic masculinity”. Tate has millions of mostly young male followers on social media, and has been widely criticised for his damaging and misogynistic content.
Newstalk ZB can reveal the Ministry of Education has been working with experts to gather information on Tate, who is being investigated for human trafficking and rape in Romania, and spread awareness about his messages.
Documents released under the Official Information Act show what appears to be parents and teachers raising urgent concern about the influencer, pleading with officials to act before “more and more students get indoctrinated”.
One email, which has the sender’s name redacted, asks the ministry to “take this and your responsibility seriously.
“Quite often, schools have waited for official actions of the ministry, but there is no time left”, it reads.
Another message, seemingly from a distressed parent, discusses “kids doing Nazi salutes in and out of the classroom” and claims some are using “usernames related to Hitler or racist phrases and following hate speech leaders, like Andrew Tate.
“[It] has the potential of creating a generation of radicals that can harm our society.”
Ministry of Education curriculum general manager Julia Novak said the issue has been raised around the country.
She said the curriculum service, based in the Ministry of Education regional offices, holds a regular relationships and sexuality education sub-committee.
“The influence of Andrew Tate has been discussed in the context of misinformation, disinformation, and misogyny.”
She says schools play an important role in responding to misinformation, disinformation, sexual harassment and violence, but this stretches beyond schools and into our wider communities.
“We are not aware of any acute concerns raised about children in the classroom demonstrating behaviour that links directly to Andrew Tate’s ideology or views.”
One Wellington-based teacher told Newstalk ZB: “His content is pretty damaging.”
He said “Andrew Tate fan clubs” - where students gather at lunchtime to watch his content – have become a somewhat common problem.
“His content is normalising misogyny, and it’s concerning to see young teenaged boys consume his content at school.”
Another Auckland-based teacher said he had to explicitly tell his students they were not allowed to quote Tate in speeches and presentations.
“His content is obnoxious and toxic – I despise it. He’s outrageously misogynistic and has pretty regressive views on woman.”
According to The Guardian, the British Government has advised teachers not to talk about him, with reports of a rising tide of misogyny and sexual harassment from boys as young as nine.
Tate has openly spoken online about his beliefs that a woman belongs to her boyfriend and rape victims must “bear responsibility” for their attacks.
Those comments have been widely criticised as damaging.
But teachers spoken to by ZB said it’s not uncommon to see young teenage boys parrot things he’s said in his videos.
But they said there’s only so much schools, or the Ministry of Education, can do to dissuade students from consuming Tate’s content.
“If the Ministry came out with an education pack for all teachers and said ‘go educate your classes on how bad Andrew Tate is’, it would make the problem worse, as kids would say ‘oh this really pisses our teachers off, I’m going to do it more,’” one teacher said.