Andrew Tate isn’t Neo. He’s Cypher.
Misogynist right-wing influencer Andrew Tate is getting his, and just like Cypher, he doesn’t care who gets hurt or enslaved in the process. Free your wallet, kid.
Misogynist right-wing influencer Andrew Tate, the so-called men’s rights activist, was recently arrested in Romania on rape and sex trafficking charges, after reportedly being investigated (but never charged) for rape in the UK in 2015. Tate has a rather predictable and tired obsession with “red pilling” and “the Matrix”. He promises those willing to pay for the privilege the keys to freeing your mind and enabling men to take control of their lives. He promises money, women and the perks of the good life that are meant to come with them. He understands the angst and fears of teenage boys, and he preys on them with promises of a better life. They can all break free of the control the “Matrix” has over them—for a monthly fee, of course. The message is intoxicating to those who are unhappy in life—whether it be in their personal appearance, their jobs, their relationships—but Tate promises more than an improvement on the normal struggles of growing up and find one’s place in the world. He promises reinvention. He promises a life on a different plane of existence. He is the embodiment of the “red pill” ideology which renounces traditional beliefs and everything put forth by the mainstream media, and in this grand new existence he promises his subscribers, Tate is Neo. He is the one who will set them all free.
But he’s not Neo. He’s not Morpheus. He’s not any of those other characters whose names you’ve forgotten. He’s Cypher. He’s the one who betrayed Neo, Morpheus and the rest of the people of Zion who wanted to free those who had been enslaved above ground by the machines. If you remember the movie, Cypher was part of the crew of Morpheus’s ship, the Nebuchadnezzar. Cypher took the red pill, but he came to regret that decision. He hated the cold, dark conditions on the futuristic ship miles under the earth’s surface. He complained about the food. He’d lost the motivation to resist the full and complete takeover of the human population left in Zion by the machines who controlled the surface of the planet. Cypher wanted to forget. He wanted to be placed back inside the Matrix to live out his days as an important person who ate expensive food and lived comfortably while all the suffering continued around him. He didn’t care who he hurt in the process. He didn’t care if the machines won. He was willing to betray Morpheus, Neo and every remaining human on earth if it meant his reality could be improved in the process.
Andrew Tate is getting his, and just like Cypher, he doesn’t care who gets hurt or stays a slave in the process.
Why does the “red pill” find so many adherents?
Morpheus tells Neo, “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
Much has been written about the idea of “toxic masculinity,” and the threats men feel they are under. Most men, particularly young men who haven’t yet found their place in the world, are led to believe their traditional values are under siege by a world which no longer values them or their masculinity. They feel as if the golden age of men running the world must’ve been better than the world today. It must’ve been easier. It must be an aesthetic worth returning to because the rich man with expensive jewelry and fancy cars says so.
I don’t know that I buy any of these ideas or concerns. I’m not sure it’s any harder now to succeed in the world than it was in generations past. There’s always competition. There are always those who fail. Perhaps it is harder to get away with violence and sex crimes against women than it once was, but Andrew Tate is surely showing us the work yet to be done in that field. I think what matters more than the truth of this matter is the fact that young men believe it to be true. I can’t explain all the reasons why, but they do believe it is harder to succeed today than it used to be. They believe their traditional place in the world has been usurped, and there are influencers on the internet who are more than willing to tell them the blame for all this lies with women.
Whether their concerns are real or manufactured, the red pill is sold as a solution to this growing fear. It’s intoxicating in the same way a drug is. It’s a hit of dopamine. It’s a promise of a better life for potential unfulfilled. It’s a way to puff your chest out and get through an otherwise ordinary existence. So what if your asshole boss assigns you terrible tasks at work? He’s a drone. He’s a cog in the machine. He doesn’t get it the way you do. You know better, and you have a bunch of internet friends who agree with you. The red pill is how you know you’re better than everyone else whether you can prove this or not. It’s not just building a man cave. It’s buying one and living in it forever. It’s a world where you believe there will be no consequences for your misogyny, your exploitative behavior or violence against women. It’s both an excuse for men’s mediocrity and an outlet for vengeance against a world in which they are mediocre.
Being red pilled is a sort of ultimate cope when life’s struggles get you down. You’re not mediocre or ordinary. You think outside the box. You pity anyone who doesn’t get it the way you do. It’s false enlightenment. It’s a perceived deeper understanding of the world. The mainstream media doesn’t get it. They’re part of the machine. They must be rejected. Embrace the alternative. Become the alternative. It feels good, but it’s as artificial as “the Matrix” they claim to be breaking out of.
Why the red pill isn’t what they say it is
Andrew Tate has claimed “depression isn’t real” because he believes all of your personal struggles are fixable, and he’s the only one with the cure. He can point to people who have taken anti-depressants, say it didn’t work for them and what really worked was this other thing you can buy on his website. He can make it all better, and line his own pockets in the process.
Writing for Australia’s ABC News, James Purtill wrote of Andrew Tate's sudden rise to prominence:
Tate rose to prominence on the back of 'Hustlers University'.
The $50 per month subscription program consisted of private Discord servers featuring lessons for entrepreneurial schemes, from copywriting to crypto investing to dropshipping.
Among these schemes was affiliate marketing, where a person earns money by promoting a product.
If you've ever watched an unboxing video, or a product review, and been asked to click on the custom link beneath the video to buy the product, that's affiliate marketing.
In this case, the product that was being sold was Andrew Tate's Hustlers University. The students were promoting their own course and teacher.
Tate's followers flooded TikTok, Youtube and Instagram with videos promoting both Tate and the program, so they'd get a cut of the $50 sign-up fee.
"It has all the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme," Daniel Angus, a professor of digital communications at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), said.
Paul Harrigan, an expert in digital marketing and social media at the University of Western Australia, agreed.
He said Tate operated a "pyramid scheme" of social media engagement, where members post content to their followers, who then post to their followers, and so on.
"People up the top with a high engagement rate will be making a profit for sure."
"From a marketing side it's quite innovative to get people to pay to be part of a network, because then they feel invested and feel part of it and a lot of them are working for free."
Tate managed to take his schemes to a new level by motivating his followers who are also his investors. People who believe in Tate’s cause work harder to advance that cause, but the reality seems to be they’re simply growing the scam they were already taken in by. This is the essence of the red pilled existence. It asks you to invest in crypto which means you’re likely to put real money in alleged Ponzi schemes like the collapsed FTX cryptocurrency exchange. It asks you to invest in NFTs which means you get caught up in scams like the mutant ape planet NFT whose developer was recently indicted by DOJ for a $2.9 million fraud scheme. It tells you to buy supplements on Alex Jones’s Infowars store which are really just massively overpriced knockoffs of vitamins and supplements you can find much cheaper at your local supermarket or drug store. The red pill demands you call everyone you disagree with a groomer while simultaneously defending a “Top G” who’s accused of fraud, sex trafficking or rape. To accept the red pill is to defend the very people who are scamming you in a cult-like fashion while simultaneously accusing those who point out these contradictions as enslaved drones caught up in a cult of mediocrity. You are no less a slave in the red pilled ideology. In fact, you’re likely to end up with a more abusive master.
You take the red pill because you think it’ll make you free, but in the end, you’re throwing away cash on a misogynist who has a personal fetish for the Taliban which its members reciprocate.
The hollowness of the “red pill”
Cypher to Agent Smith: I don't want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I want to be rich. You know, someone important, like an actor.
In reality, Andrew Tate is an actor. He’s selling young men and boys on a lifestyle that doesn’t exist. It can’t exist, at least not without ultimately leading to police raids. That’s the reason he’s willing to sell out anyone who will listen for the low, low price of $49.95 a month. He’s not interested in freeing anyone. He’s only interested in enslaving them, in breaking them down and molding them in his image.
Cypher died getting his, but we’re not living in a movie. This is the real world, and in the real world rich people usually get off. They keep acting. They hire the fancy lawyers, while the other high-profile influencers stay in their corner, defending their every action. Their “team” stands by them, and while they are under siege, their hardcore supporters only entrench further. Andrew Tate’s legend is growing today for the same reasons Donald Trump’s support did among his base during his presidency. In this telling, those under attack are the victims of the enslaved minds. They are coming for you next. Trumpism’s descent into QAnon was inevitable when people defended every single action he took, regardless of whether it was objectively right or wrong. The primary influencers in red pilled ideology are treated like gods incapable of doing wrong and thus defending their actions has become a type of digital holy war for the true believers.
Cypher wanted to forget what he knew, and he was willing to throw anyone under the bus to have the sweet dreams of an easy life. On Andrew Tate’s old website, years ago, his biography mentions how important it was for Andrew to become “a somebody” in this world. I’ll quote from the archived 2014 page here:
Ever woken up and just looked around you? This is what I did aged 14.
I was told that GCSE’s are what it took to get into college, then a good performance in college would allow me to go university. Then, if I was lucky, I would get a “good” job aged 24 and 30grand in debt.
I was only 14 but I was smart enough to know this was bullshit.
I wanted to know why I didn’t have a Ferrari. Why I didn’t have a yacht… I saw these things but they were not mine, and I knew academia was never going to lead me there.
My dad is a world class chess player. A somebody.
I decided I wanted to be world class at something. I decided I wanted to become a somebody too.
He claimed that his embrace of kickboxing made him important, but his short career was unremarkable. What made him “a somebody” was the embrace of the red pill. He found a way to achieve his goal, and he did it by convincing men to subscribe to toxic ideologies which will ruin many lives—none more so than their own.
In the end Andrew Tate doesn’t care. He’s someone important. Like an actor.
Writing for The Daily Beast in April 2022, Will Sommer wrote of the then-ongoing Romanian investigation into Tate:
In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said the raid on the Tates’ house was part of an investigation that began after a woman was reported to be held at the house against her will. As the probe continued, it escalated to include “crimes of human trafficking and rape.”
That investigation ultimately led to Tate’s detainment on December 29, 2022, and the impetus for the investigation matches his own previous statements. On his official Twitter account @Cobratate in October 2017, Tate wrote, “My women are not ALOWED [sic] to leave me.”
So it would seem.
But if the red pill is a lie, then what’s the truth? The truth is that life is sometimes dull. The truth is nuanced and not built for social media hot takes. We’re not living in a video game. We’re not living in a war zone. The alternative to the mainstream consensus isn’t a better reality. It’s often a worse one. If you buy into the red pill, if you buy into this idea of the Matrix that assumes we’re living in a simulation, if you buy into Andrew Tate’s assertion that women don’t leave him because they’re not allowed to, your relationships are going to fail. You can either have relationships with smart women who challenge you as a partner become the best version of yourself, or you hold them in a dungeon and get arrested for rape and human trafficking.
The irony of the red pill is if you’re in that world, you attack and belittle “boomer shit”—the people who don’t know better with all their antiquated thoughts and ideas about what life should be. You mock and belittle the people who “don’t get it,” but the red pilled kingmakers aren’t there to help you. They’re fleecing you for all you’re worth. While you mock the poor sap in a cubicle, they’ve emptied out your pockets. Then they discard you.
Maybe you think you know better. Maybe you think you can beat the system. Maybe you can, or maybe you’ll be one of the thousands of people left in their wake.
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Tate appears to have at least one personality disorder. I'm no psychiatrist, though.