On December 27, just a month after returning to Twitter following a five-year ban, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate attempted to pick a fight with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Her response is now one of the most-liked tweets ever.
Two days later, after an incoherent response video from Tate, he and his brother were arrested in Romania for charges of sex trafficking and rape — reportedly at least his second arrest for alleged rape since 2015. The latest arrest and the online feud are not related, despite initial speculation, but the entire exchange left many people wondering about Tate’s background and what may have been behind his outburst at the climate activist.
In addition to spreading narrow-minded and often violent ideas about masculinity, Tate has a history of buying into climate conspiracy theories and has made contradictory statements about climate change, sometimes altogether denying its impacts. He has also repeatedly targeted Thunberg in his content.
Andrew Tate has adopted right-wing rhetoric about climate change policy and solutions
Both Tate and his brother have rambled about the climate crisis and “the green agenda” during interviews, livestreams, and in their own content. Tate calls climate action a creation of “the matrix,” which has long been an important cultural reference for the online far right. For Tate, climate policy is seemingly a tool for people behind “the new world order” who “want more control” and aim to enslave the public. This is strikingly similar to the globalist cabal at the center of the Great Reset conspiracy theory often discussed by other right-wing media influencers and climate deniers.
Tate has gone back and forth between whether he thinks climate change is a legitimate issue. In a 2019 interview with 21 Studios, a media company dedicated to “abolishing the feminist establishment,” he said, “I don’t care about global warming. Is it happening? Maybe, don’t give a shit.” Last July, he insisted, “I’m not saying climate change isn’t real, I’m not saying that climate isn’t important, I’m not saying the world is not important.” But regardless of how much Tate truly cares about climate change, he has repeatedly and publicly attacked and mischaracterized any viable solutions.
Tate has parroted misinformation sparked by big government paranoia and promoted by the likes of Fox News. In an October 2022 interview, he falsely claimed that lithium batteries for electric cars are “doing more damage to the environment than a fucking petrol engine could ever do,” and said that “the people who are in charge of the world” will force the masses to adopt electric vehicles in order to control them. During the same interview, he also claimed that environmental policies are being used as a “Trojan horse” that will force people to stop eating meat.
The matrix is often central to Tate’s climate commentary. “All of these things that the matrix purports, it’s all fucking bullshit because the people who are actually fucking involved and purporting it are not concerned by it on any level,” he insisted last October. In a June interview, Tate claimed that “every single multimillion- and billionaire buy a house on the beach” despite supposedly rising sea levels because “this green agenda they’re pushing has nothing to do with the environment. … It’s all to do with control.” Climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, Tate claims, would turn people into “peasants” or “slaves.”
Over the summer of 2022, Tate commented on protests that occurred in the Netherlands over emissions cuts. During a livestream with other YouTubers, he contended that “the matrix” was bankrupting farmers in order to buy up all of their land. “Every single movement on the planet to some degree has been corrupted by the people who are in charge of the world aiming to get more and more power from the populace,” he said. In the same livestream, Tate claimed that “the matrix sits there and decides we want Greta all over the news now, because we want to talk about the climate, and then what we want to do is put taxes up because of the climate.” Moving to outright climate denial, he concluded that “no one’s going to give a shit because we know the sea level ain’t going to rise. … ‘Climate change’ is new world order bullshit.”
Not only has Tate been a source of climate change misinformation, he has fantasized about violence against climate protesters at a time those engaging in nonviolent direct action are facing increased threats and governments are attempting to suppress peaceful protest over the climate crisis.
In a TikTok video posted in June 2022, Tate described a hypothetical scenario and suggested he would run over Extinction Rebellion protesters in his Aston Martin, saying: “Yeah, I’ll show you an extinction.”
His brother, Tristan Tate, has echoed the sentiment about Just Stop Oil activists. “Hope I’m not at the front of that line … and close enough to see you stuck in my car,” he said in a video. “And I feel like everyone in England should adopt the exact same attitude.”
Tate is just the latest right-wing media influencer targeting Greta Thunberg
Since her rise to fame in 2019, Thunberg’s activism has attracted the ire of angry men and right-wing media figures who accused her of being both a Marxist pawn, a propagandist, and a victim of child abuse. Fox News blamed Thunberg for Europe’s energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. YouTuber Dave Rubin and Dinesh D’Souza have even likened her to a Nazi. Other right-wing media influencers have mocked her autism diagnosis, called her psychotic and mentally ill, and even advocated for violence against her.
She has also been the target of sexual harassment. In 2020, when Thunberg was 17, employees at a Canadian oil company created and circulated a cartoon sticker of her being sexually assaulted.
It’s no surprise that Tate has been triggered by an influential young woman who is outspoken about the climate crisis and its intersection with gender inequality, has demanded change and accountability from world leaders, and has inspired other women and girls to become involved in issues they care about. For his part, Tate has repeatedly insisted that women are generally incompetent, that they are property, and that society will function successfully only if they are confined to the roles of wife and mother. Tate’s content often features his sports cars and his grift, Hustler University, claims to help young men get rich and “escape the matrix,” while Thunberg has supported an overall shift away from gas-powered cars toward electric vehicles and alternative transportation options and highlighted the ecological consequences of capitalism, consumerism, and unfettered economic growth.
Climate denial will continue to attract more niche right-wing influencers like Tate
Andrew Tate is yet another example of a right-wing culture warrior foraying into climate change denial in order to fully immerse followers in a paranoid and cynical worldview that is detached from nuance and reality. If Tate felt that taking up the issue publicly would benefit his influence over the far-right online fever swamps, even though it arguably backfired this time, others who share his views will continue to emulate him.