In This Episode
More 16 to 17-year-old boys recognise Andrew Tate than Rishi Sunak – have we been guilty of underestimating the influence of Tate’s brand of toxic masculinity? Nish and Coco speak to journalist Matt Shea, who has spent years investigating the notorious misogynist. His new documentary uncovers the truth behind Tate’s ‘War Room’ club, and investigates claims members are taught how to groom women into online sex work. We also learn about the mysterious mastermind behind Tate, who has so far remained in the shadows.
As Labour promises not to implement wealth taxes, Nish and Coco wonder if we’ve all missed ‘the secret wink’ that means it’ll all be ok once they’re in power. Plus Nish and Coco bid farewell to Nadine Dorries, who finally quit as an MP 81 days after saying she would. They look back at her ‘best bits’ and reflect on the battle for her Mid Bedfordshire seat.
Find out if Nish will be buying Theresa May’s new book, and why do so many people seem to mis-understand the film The Matrix?
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Watch Matt Shea’s documentary here (UK only): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001q1n6/andrew-tate-andrew-tate-the-man-who-groomed-the-world
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Matt Shea, journalist and documentary film-maker
BBC Three – Andrew Tate: The Man Who Groomed the World?
The Mail on Sunday
Channel 4 News
Nish Kumar Hi, this is Pod Save the UK
Coco Khan I’m Coco Khan.
Nish Kumar And I’m Nish Kumar.
Coco Khan And this week we’re saving the UK from toxic masculinity.
Nish Kumar We’ll meet a man who went toe to toe with the Internet’s most prominent misogynist Andrew Tate.
Coco Khan Filmmaker Matt Shay tells us about his long fight to expose Tate and the price he’s paid for it.
Nish Kumar Plus, I’m a politician. Get me out of here. It’s farewell to Nadine Dorries. Hi, Coco.
Coco Khan Hi Nish.
Nish Kumar It’s ugh. We’re here as politics in the UK is about to rev back up at MPs returning to the Commons on Monday after the summer recess.
Coco Khan I know I can imagine them all their fresh faced after their lovely summer holidays gathering around in fields. Or more realistically, staying in their second home somewhere in Europe. But we’ve got a lot to talk.
Nish Kumar About yet because there is one towering political figure who will not be returning because Nadine Dorries has finally resigned.
Coco Khan Yes. 81 days after she said she’d resign with immediate effect, having been denied the pay rate she was promised by Boris Johnson, the former culture secretary has finally fulfilled her promise to quit parliament. She wasn’t going to go quietly, of course. A scathing 1700 word resignation letter was published in the Mail on Sunday, putting up there with some of the longest resignation letters in history.
Nish Kumar Classy till the end, had she toed the party line til the absolute end, she just went completely rogue. She accused Rishi Sunak of demeaning his office and running a zombie government. Here she is speaking, of course. Who else could it be but to the Daily Mail?
Nadine Dorries There are a group, a small group of very powerful men, both at the heart of the Conservative Party and at the heart of Downing Street. He very much control events, and I think many people are actually aware of that. And that’s one of the things that I’ve uncovered in the book. But what it also represents is an absolute democratic corruption at the heart or a corruption of democracy, rather, at the heart of the Conservative Party. I should say that became prime minister without a single member’s vote or a vote from the public. No one has voted for him to be in that job. Nobody.
Nish Kumar Strong, strong words from Nadine Dorries who seems suddenly bothered about corruption in the Conservative Party.
Coco Khan He said, This is what I’ve uncovered in the book and I’m pretty sure everyone was talking about it at the time.
Nish Kumar He could have uncovered that by Googling the Conservative Party. I don’t think you need to have gone like fully into researching a book. She’s got Boris Johnson’s phone book.
Coco Khan I mean, I do respect the the plug, though. Do you know what I mean, “just as I mentioned in my book, this is what I have discovered in my book.”
Nish Kumar She’s almost like it’s like shamelessness is her superpower.
Coco Khan I’m a bit fascinated with Nadine Dorries for a range of reasons, but I mean, you know. Are we doing this or are we going to go deep about Nadine? Yeah, let’s do it.
Nish Kumar Yeah why not.
Coco Khan Right. So I was reading I was reading her biography, not the official one, just the one on Wikipedia.
Nish Kumar You’re reading her Wikipedia page, Coco. To address this like it’s an intellectual exercise. I was reading a detailed biography on the website Wikipedia.
Coco Khan And if you come across that scholar, w dot ikipedia. Very good. But yeah, she’s. She came from humble beginnings. Yeah, she’s a working class woman. Social housing. We have that in common. And somehow I think Nadine Dorries had a similar parallel life to me. But rather than sort of going, Oh, isn’t that funny how some people succeed and some people don’t and some people get ups and some opportunities and some people that she was just like, Fuck me, I’m great isn’t it. But basically she, I think she honestly has this, this sort of exceptionalism. Yeah. Thought that she thinks that she is the best. I think she genuinely believes it.
Nish Kumar The resignation letter is further evidence of this kind of what you’re talking about. These almost like delusions of grandeur. Yeah. Yeah, she has. Because it was. It’s written. I mean, these are like lines from, like a musical, like it’s so overwrought and overwritten. She said of Sue. Like, what exactly has been done or have you achieved since you took office a year ago? The country is run by a zombie parliament where nothing meaningful has happened. I mean, again, where have you been for 13 years? Nadine? You have no mandate from the people and the government is adrift. You squander the goodwill of the nation for what she also said. It is a fact that there is no affection for Keir Starmer out on the doorstep, which is an interesting definition of fact. Regardless of how you feel about Keir Starmer, he does not have the winning X Factor qualities of a Thatcher, Blair or a Boris Johnson and sadly, Prime Minister. Neither do you. And it also contains this genuinely strange line you flashed your great gleaming smile in your Prada shoes and Savile Row suit from behind a camera, but you just weren’t listening.
Coco Khan That is. That’s like a Papa Roach lyric isn’t it.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Coco Khan You really feel it. But just on the subject of musical lyrics and politicians, do you remember back in 2018.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Coco Khan There was that rapper drill minister.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Coco Khan Who wanted to make a point about the hypocrisy around violent language in rap music and how it’s always like pointed out as being the sort of whatever the demise of society in moral degradation. But actually our politicians are very vulgar and they sort of trade in this as well. Well, I just wanted to have a look at some of her best lines. I’m going to read you the one that I found. Okay. So in 2013, the then deputy political editor of The Daily Mirror, Ben Glaze, had inquired about the various family members working for Doris. Right. So, yes, this the work for her. Her daughter worked for her. Apparently her daughter back in 2013 was earning between 40 and 45 K, which is pretty tasty not going to lie, right? So this journalist was looking into it and Dorries tweeted her reply and it just said, Be seen within a mile of my daughter’s and I will nail your balls to the floor using your front teeth. Do you get that? I don’t know how to do her accent. So I just did Jason Statham instead.
Nish Kumar Because because it sounds like something Jason Statham would say. It sound like something a politician would say. It sounds like a line from the film Crank.
Coco Khan You don’t know who I am, but you will, I’m Nadine Dorries.
Nish Kumar So just in summary, she announced that she’d stand down on Saturday evening, which is 11 weeks after originally pledging to quit with immediate effect on the 9th of June. Her salary is £86,584. She hasn’t spoken in the Commons since June 2022, and she last voted in April of this year. So Doris tweeted on Tuesday that she had a new job because in order for an MP to leave the Commons before a general election, they have to be appointed to a historical position of steward and bailiff of the three hundreds of Chilton. That’s how you leave as an MP. It is hard to continue to make the case this is a real country.
Coco Khan Although you have to be appointed to that and apparently you have to write a letter in the press. That seems like a new tradition that’s coming up as well. Very Bojo, genuinely. Do you think that’s the thing that’s going to keep happening.
Nish Kumar What?
Coco Khan That people announced their political moves in the press before they tell their colleagues.
Nish Kumar In a couple of weeks. We’re going to talk about the state opening of parliament where a magic man in a gold hat comes and allows us to have democracy. It’s going to get even weirder over the next few weeks.
Coco Khan Can I just also just take a little bit of a moment as an opportunist? But in the spirit of Nadine, I think she would support this. Yes. That if anyone wants to come and resign publicly, we have a very large sofa.
Nish Kumar Oh, we we have so many political resignations. We will absolutely throw the floor open for resignation corner. If you want to resign as an MP, we are we would be delighted to provide you with a forum.
Coco Khan We can like help you brainstorm. You know, we can like sort of pull out top point. We can rap stuff for you. It’d be fun, but up to the byelection. So Nadine Dorries resigning means inevitably there will be a by election. So a motion known as a writ has. To be moved when Parliament returns on Monday. That would mean that between 21 and 27 working days we will find a by election being held.
Nish Kumar Yeah and the constituencies mid Bedfordshire. And look, the Dorries has a majority of 24,000. But after huge swings away from the Tories in the recent by elections, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are eyeing this one up. Though if they did lose this seat, it would be the biggest byelection defeat ever.
Coco Khan I mean, they both they’re both feeling pretty confident. Aren’t only the Lib Dems and Labour, they both overturned whopping majorities to take seats off the Tories recently. So the Lib Dems overturned a 19,000 majority in Somerton and Free and Labour overturned a 20,000 majority in Selby and Anstey.
Nish Kumar Look, we’ve talked about tactical voting a lot on this podcast. We talked about any possibility of progressive cooperation in certain seats, and the polling guru Sir John Curtis has said that there is still a possibility the Conservative Party could retain the say if Labour and the Liberal Democrat Party split the anti Tory vote. So we could all be about to learn a very stark lesson about political cooperation and its uses in the face of a seat that, you know, I imagine a lot of people in Mid Bedfordshire are pretty fed up with the Conservative Party because of the person that they’ve directly dealt with from the party.
Coco Khan So, you know. Nadine, farewell. It’s been real, but before we.
Nish Kumar Please don’t ever fucking come back. With love in my heart. Please don’t ever fucking come back to politics. You had some views but are not welcome here.
Coco Khan I’m absolutely obsessed with the fact that she wanted to privatize Channel four, but yet appeared in Channel four documentaries quite regularly.
Nish Kumar Yeah. And then unfortunately in front of a select committee revealed that she didn’t understand the ownership structure of Channel four. I mean, she has so many highlights, Coco.
Coco Khan So many highlights. In fact, actually, we’ve actually thank you to our producers for the listeners. We’ve we’ve done a little compilation of some of Nadine’s best bits. So please enjoy.
Nish Kumar Yeah, enjoy this because one of our producers has had to sit through a lot of shit.
Clip Have you spoken to the Prime Minister recently? In the last 24 hours? Why? Why are you asking me that question? I’d like to know. And we’ve we’ve communicated the UK is passing some new legislation to make the Internet safer for the younger generation. It’s essentially a framework for attacks, Internet users from scams, illegal content and anonymous abuses. But Channel four is not like the BBC it’s not in receipt of license fee money. It makes its money from commercial operations. And so although it’s yeah. And that it will force being taxed at the terms being breached puts in measures to defend free speech but isn’t true. It will impact freedom of expression. No, we put in legal protections in the 19th section. Well, that’s what the Prime Minister said. But he shouldn’t have said it should be. Well, I think there are lots of things that customers should decide. Well, there are clearly things that he said that the. Prime minister now. Whether he whether they were deliberate lies or not, has yet to be established. But he’s clearly said things to the House that were not true. The Prime Minister tells the truth.
Nish Kumar Nadine Dorries may be gone, but we’ll never forget her Tik tok rap about the online safety bill because it’s burned into our retinas. There’s been a noticeable uptick in political activity in Westminster as MPs return to work. Hopefully, if they’ve been able to make it back from their holidays because of the air traffic control meltdown that’s happened in the UK this week. Some of the key headlines. London has become the world’s largest pollution charging area after the Deacon’s expanded Ulez scheme went live. You’ve had Suella Braverman brainwave to ask police to catch criminals as part of another themed week by the government. And the government elsewhere has scrapped house building rules which were designed to protect our rivers. The one we’re going to focus on today is Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, explicitly ruling out Labour imposing a wealth tax if it wins the next election. She confirmed that Labour would not target expensive houses, increase capital gains tax or put up the top rate of income tax, and that any extra money for public services will have to come from economic growth. It was revealed not in an exclusive given to the Telegraph, which sort of given the political leanings that paper may be, suggests the audience that Labour is trying to reach with this. It’s a very traditionally conservative newspaper and it’s widely being reported on as the party trying to demonstrate its economic competence. And again, we return to this one of the key themes about what constitutes economic competence or what constitutes tough choices that have to be made because more of the status quo does not seem to me to be evidence of economic competence. Are you really looking at Britain in the last 13 years as we reach a point where our public services don’t work? Infrastructure doesn’t work. We’ve suffered over a decade of chronic underinvestment. And are you really saying that that’s economic competence?
Coco Khan I don’t get it. On an economic sense, I mean, you know, new Labour, they had a wealth tax. Maybe they didn’t call it that, but that’s something that they did. That’s how you raise money that we need for public spending. But I think most of the public genuinely want to see spending into the NHS. They want to see the potholes fixed. They want to see things get better. So I don’t I don’t understand why they’re taking this taking this line.
Nish Kumar Yeah, there’s various different organizations that have researched what a wealth tax would look like. Analysis by Tax Justice, UK, The Economic Change Unit, and the New Economics Foundation that was conducted earlier on in the year, found a modest wealth tax on the wealthiest 350 families in the United Kingdom could raise more than £20 billion a year, which the example given would be. It would fund the construction of 145,000 new affordable homes. Now, when we say a modest tax, what was specifically talking about in this instance is a 2% tax on assets above £10 million, and that’s held by all of the members of the Sunday Times Rich list. That’s where you get the figure of £22 billion a year. And if you think about how much money that could raise, it seems kind of extraordinary. And Rachel has pointed out that people in Britain are living through the highest tax burden for 60 or 70 years. But it depends on which section of Britain you’re talking about that’s being burdened with that taxation. The richest 250 families in the United Kingdom are sitting on a combined wealth of £748 billion.
Coco Khan And at the minute, the burden of this cost of living crisis and all the things that are going on is is being put on some of the most vulnerable.
Nish Kumar Less than a quarter of the wealthiest people. On the Sunday Times Rich List also appear in the Times’s annual list celebrating the people that pay the most tax in the United Kingdom. And that’s because we have a taxation system where assets are taxed at lower rate than income capital gains tax, property tax. These are ways of generating revenue that would not harm the people that you’re extracting that wealth from and would be an incredibly useful tool in rebalancing the British economy. A one off 1% wealth tax on households with more than £1,000,000 would generate £260 billion. That was an idea that was actually put forward by the Independent Wealth Tax Commission in 2021. And the reason that that was put forward is because the number of billionaires actually increased from the start of the pandemic. We went from 147 in 2020 to 171. It’s there. There are ways of extracting money that don’t damage the people that you’re taking it from. And I think that, you know, writers that I respect have been writing articles about how Labour needs to campaign and essentially suggesting that Labour needs to campaign effectively on a sort of wink policy, that they announced something that they had to go wank. You know, like that’s basically that seems to be the inference that Starmer and Rachel Reeves particularly are leading this kind of frontline campaign, that they’re essentially going to say, we’re not going to raise taxes, and that as soon as they get into power, they’re going to raise taxes, and that we just need to sort of blindly trust just. What’s going to happen. We basically, with this 13 years of underinvestment when we kind of need solutions now.
Coco Khan It’s hard. Well, you know. You know, and and.
Nish Kumar Also, could you really can you if they don’t do it, we don’t really have a leg to stand on. That’s the problem. If the whole time, you know, if we’re sat here, you know, a couple of years in 20, 27, two years into a storm, a government and there isn’t some sort of reform to the taxation system, we can’t very well turn around and go, well, We in good faith assumed you were lying to us.
Coco Khan Exactly. You never said it, but we believed it anyway. Well, I think one of our listeners guys kind of shares our feelings on this. He messaged us via WhatsApp to say, Hi guys. I just heard that Labour has rolled out a wealth tax. Now, on the one hand, this could be a good thing, as Labour has a habit of you turning on every promise. So perhaps this means a wealth tax is coming with. But in all sad likelihood, they will probably stand by this one. So we’re again facing more rich people making policies that aid the rich and fuck the poor. A billionaire tax is widely popular, I assume with, I don’t know, 99% of the population bare minimum tax people the right amount. No more tax havens, loopholes, tricky accountants, a behind closed door rim job deals. Oh wow. Kansas. This is getting very fussy. I hate that I’m voting Labour just to get the Tories out, but I don’t feel represented at all by them. Keep up the great show guys, so if you want to send us a WhatsApp, our number is 07514644572. Internationally, that’s +447514644572.
Nish Kumar [AD]
Nish Kumar Yeah, I mean, there’s any number of reasons why I give thanks for having grown up in an era of dial up Internet. You know, at the time it seemed frustrating, but I don’t think we quite realized what monsters would be unleashed by high speed Internet available on mobile phones.
Coco Khan Well, I mean, it really is the world’s most notorious misogynist. And he is currently charged in Romania with rape, human trafficking and forming an organized crime group to sexually exploit women. He’s also been accused of rape by several British women, and they are hoping that police in the UK will reopen their investigation. I think that’s important to say that he’s not just someone with bad opinions. This is an active certainly accused of very, very heinous crimes. So while most of us couldn’t bear to spend 4 minutes of Andrew Tate, our special guest, Matt Shay, has spent four years investigating him. Matt has made the documentary. Andrew Tate, the Man Who Groomed the world, which can be viewed on BBC iPlayer from Thursday night. So this is the second documentary Matt has made about Tate. Let’s hear a clip from his latest film.
Clip For two years, I’ve been investigating his secretive society, the war. With the war room in a whirlpool. Once you’re in, you’re in and it’s hard to get out. Speaking to women who say they were targeted by this shadowy organization. As soon as I walked in the door, he pushed me to my knees and legs back to me really hard across the face. And whistleblowers who are now ready to reveal what’s really going on. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a cult.
Coco Khan Hello.
Matt Shea Hello. Thank you for having me.
Nish Kumar Thanks for joining us, Matt. I’ve seen both the films now and it’s I mean, it’s a pretty sobering watch. And you have had pretty direct contact with Andrew Tate. Have you heard from him since you finished editing the film?
Matt Shea Yeah, he messages me quite frequently. He just recently messaged me to say that I’m his only chance for relevance, which just gives you an idea of the kind of level of arrogance that he has. Yeah. Although he is to a degree, kind of. Right, Because that’s why I’m here today. But. But yeah, both him and his brother message me.
Nish Kumar It’s something that comes up over cool over the course of the two films that he’s sort of, you’ve kind of become a character in his sort of online universe. You’re the focus of a lot of anger from him, his brother, and also these kind of legion of online fans. So why did you. I’m just trying to phrase this away without going, What are you thinking? But why? What made you want to go back and make another film about him?
Matt Shea Well, because the first film just didn’t scratch the surface of what we’ve uncovered. And this new film, what it really gets into, isn’t just Andrew Tate, but the people behind Andrew Tate and in particular his secret all male society, the war Room, which we uncover evidence that suggests the war room, at least in part, exists to teach men to groom women into online sex, work through forms of coercion, isolation and manipulation. Now it’s important. Remember, not all men who are in the war will engage in that activity and listen to those teachings. But that is a part of it. At least the evidence that we’ve seen suggests that. And not just the war room, but also he has these generals that are at the top of the war with names like the sartorial shooter and the right hand of Whiddon and names like that. And one of those generals is a man who goes by the name Iggy Semmelweis. He’s a self-proclaimed wizard. He claims to have powers of hypnosis. And the film that we’ve just released, it basically, it goes into a lot of detail on him and basically covers that. He was instrumental in the creation of Andrew Tate and his war room. And one of the really interesting parts about that is he’s a student of comparative mythology and is very into this idea of a hero and an anti-hero. And so to some degree, putting me as this kind of arch nemesis is part of their marketing campaign.
Nish Kumar Just explain to us what the war room is, because there’s sort of there’s there’s like three or maybe maybe there’s more. This seems to be sort of three key layers to his his business and the kind of closest inner circle is the war room. Every layer, we should say, involves handing over eye wateringly large sums of money to Andrew Tate. But what is the actual what is the war room?
Matt Shea Yeah, that’s exactly right. So the first level of Andrew Tate followers are his followers on social media. He has millions. At one point he was the most searched person, one of the most searched people on TikTok. And at one point he was the most Googled man in the world. And then a lot of those filter up to the real world, which is his kind of online course, which teaches you how to become wealthy and successful.
Coco Khan So is that Hustler’s University.
Matt Shea It was previously called Hustler University. That’s right. And and then some of those people will filter up into his most exclusive society, the war room. Once inside, you get access to a telegram group and the option to spend even more money. By the way, it costs $8,000 a year to join the war room.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Matt Shea But then you get the option to spend even more money with exclusive courses and events around the world.
Nish Kumar I think it’s really important that we get into tape, the misogynist and that that’s such a key part of who he is. But there’s also this huge kind of sort of strange, kind of hard line, extreme capitalism running through a lot of these things. And Hustlers university. A lot of the courses are telling people about sort of cryptocurrency and investments, right? Was what is the actual purpose of Hustlers University?
Matt Shea It’s a really good question because you could argue the actual purpose of Hustlers University is to make entertaining his friends money. Yes. But ostensibly, the purpose is to help you escape what he calls the matrix and become rich. Becoming rich is how you escape the matrix. And somehow he’s rebranded this kind of hyper capitalist desire to become rich through crypto, etc., and own a bunch of cars as the rebellious and kind of punk rock in a way. Yeah. And that he is this kind of rebellious hero, hero that’s going to help you, you know, break through an escape by earning lots of money.
Coco Khan And when we say The Matrix, we basically just mean like society as we know it.
Matt Shea Yeah, I think the best solution, the Matrix, is a kind of global conspiracy of the media and the government that aims to keep young men from knowing the truth about life. You’re both part of the Matrix.
Nish Kumar That’s right. Yeah. Yeah.
Coco Khan Oh fun. I can’t do any high kicks or I can’t, like, melt my face like they can in the Matrix. It’s really sad.
Nish Kumar I know this is the more serious points, but so much cultural damage has been done by people willfully misunderstanding the matrix.
Matt Shea Yeah.
Nish Kumar It’s. It’s amazing. It’s like a whole generation of people watched Terminator and came out pro Skynet. Like it does like, it’s like. I don’t think you understood any of the core messages of this of this film, which its creators have confirmed, is an allegory for being a transgender person. Yeah, it’s absolutely bananas.
Matt Shea That and Fight Club as well.
Nish Kumar Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, it’s yeah. People who watched Fight Club were like, yeah, it was cool. Yeah.
Coco Khan So I think one of the things that, you know, whenever I talk to people about Andrew Tate, there’s this idea that, like, this is just a fringe nut job, you know, like what you describe there about wizards and mythology. You know, you could argue this is a cult. Why is this such of, of grave concern to Westminster, to policing, to teachers, to us on this podcast? Why are we talking about it? And I suppose my theory is that, well, Andrew Tate is just a symptom, and if you got rid of him, there’d be another one. And this is a cultural thing that is happening that has real world impacts. Is that what you found in your investigations?
Matt Shea I think there’s something uniquely worrying about Andrew Tate in that, like you said, it’s the kind of thing that we, you know, on this podcast, politicians, teachers, parents, we’re all like, this guy is clearly a fringe figure or maybe even knows who he is, but they all think he’s ridiculous. But that would be a mistake because our sons and our nephews don’t think that. And you pointed out that 52% of 16 to 17 year olds are more likely to have heard of Andrew Tate than I’ve heard of Rishi Sunak. Also more likely to have a positive view of him than than than not. And that number goes higher the younger you go to a degree similar in in most countries in the world. So if we’re not aware of what our children are looking at, then we will just be sleepwalking into a world where we’re raising a generation of agitates and, you know, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re society’s become more progressive on this issue with the MeToo movement and etc.. But actually it could be going the other way.
Coco Khan And we are seeing examples of that already. You know, we’ve seen teachers talking about how classrooms are simply just unmanageable now, particularly if you’re a female teacher, because that the male pupils are quite literally saying, Why are you teaching me? You should be making me a sandwich. The Department of Education have had to take action about this. There are courses that are being run to help teachers manage this kind of toxicity in their classroom and every single course sells out. If we take down Andrew Tate, if he’s going to step in right. Like this is a a serpent with many heads.
Matt Shea Yeah they may find a new kind of figurehead. There are a number of people that come to mind. Snepco is gaining popularity rapidly. He’s a similar kind of misogynist influencer. Right? Yeah. There. There will. You’re right. Until the problem is addressed in social media and how these kind of relentless algorithms feed content so quickly to young people, then there will always be a new potential. Andrew Tate on the horizon.
Nish Kumar And the problem with Tate now is that even though he has been deplatformed by most of the social media websites, although I understand he is, he’s back on Twitter.
Matt Shea Yeah, he was reinstated by Elon Musk.
Nish Kumar The finite wisdom of the flat faced, meat man. He’s reinstated Andrew Tate, but even without being platformed on other things, one of the things that you’ve shown in the films is there’s a whole army of Tate fans that essentially are essentially just sharing his videos, putting them up, and they’re very often not Tate fans. I mean, this guy’s sat in front of huge computers in his compound in Bucharest, and there is clearly you clearly get the sense that these are people who are creating huge amounts of shadow accounts and just pumping it out. So it becomes irrelevant whether he’s on there or not. Right.
Matt Shea I mean, absolutely. Yeah. So this is the the kind of in ingenuity of Tate is that he’s managed to financially incentivize teenagers all across the world to share content of him, because at one point there was a affiliate marketing scheme whereby you would get a percentage of someone’s subscription fee to the Hustlers University If you shared the content of Andrew Tate, the more controversial, the better with a link to the Hustlers university underneath. And so, yeah, he financially incentivized young people to make him famous and rich. And that is brilliant. But there is this whole marketing infrastructure behind him. I spoke to a someone who claimed to be the head of sales and marketing for Andrew Tate. And, you know, the way he described the dozens of people working on this was was shocking. I mean, you have dozens of people clipping out and resharing and some fake accounts, some real discrediting the people who critique him on social media or harassing them. And the real or the fact of that is that a lot of people still think that agitator is a great guy and nothing’s going wrong. When people come up to me in the street, you can, you know, they’ll often say, if if a Tate fan comes up to me in the street, which happens all the time, they’ll say, Oh, you know, clearly the whole narrative has turned against you now and you’ve been totally discredited. That’s what they think, right? So I make you actually think that I’ve completely been discredited and our reporting has been completely discredited because that’s what people on Twitter are saying.
Nish Kumar You’ve put yourself in the firing line of. You know, a man who kind of revels in a certain amount of violence, who brags about owning guns, who says that men should walk around holding swords to make themselves feel powerful. You kind of put yourself in the firing line of that man and his kind of armada of followers. Do you feel unsafe? Are you okay?
Matt Shea Yeah. I think I look like I’ve as part of my reporting, I’ve interviewed the Albanian mafia, I’ve interviewed Colombian cartels. I’ve actually had guns pointed in my face by actually scary people. Andrew Tate, you know, who pretends to be a character from The Matrix. His right hand man pretends to be a wizard and wears tight fitting shirts isn’t actually scary and you know, has neither his fans. And yes, they send some pretty explicit death threats. You know, I’m going to wait outside your office and slit your throat or, you know, I’m going to I’ve hired someone to behead your entire family. No, you haven’t. What are you talking about?
Coco Khan I mean, not not to say you should be very afraid, Matt. But, like, there is a quite well-trodden line between incel misogynistic online culture and people who go out and shoot people and shoot women and do things like that that do commit violence. Not trying to scare you, but we do need to think they are scary.
Matt Shea Yeah, they they are, I think. But as a journalist, it kind of comes with the job, first of all. And it’s nothing like being a journalist in say, Mexico, where you’re actually putting yourself at risk. You know, people are just mean to me on the Internet maybe. And I also think that if you are consistently investigating someone for things like human trafficking, grooming, rape, and their only response is dork, nerd geek, that, you know, they’ve sort of lost the argument. I mean, just to be clear, that’s what their kind of term for me, they call me the DNG.
Nish Kumar And they demand that you bring them a box of chocolates. There is an extraordinary bit in the documentary where you actually say to him, look, you’re being charged with rape and human trafficking. Do you think it’s an appropriate response to just shout, give me some chocolate? But in terms of when you are when you are confronted by these safe hands, what’s their line of conversation? Do they just come up to you and say, don’t nerd geek, I recognize you. You’ve been discredited.
Matt Shea Yeah. And also you stitched up and you take like I was walking back to my tent at Glastonbury and three of the security guards kind of surrounded me and said, you know, are you stitched up? And you take them up and. But often when you engage in these, they look. So what you just believe everything undertake tells you and they there’s like no you know, no. Okay well you know Andrew Tate tells you you should be skeptical of everything. Why aren’t you skeptical of him? Because he’s manipulating you. And I think oftentimes it is literally because they just haven’t they have Twitter for a brain and they haven’t actually looked at other news sources.
Nish Kumar Yeah, the bit of the documentary that thought was the most extraordinary where you actually talk to a kind of Andrew Tate fan. He seems to have come to Bucharest essentially on I mean, I don’t want to use the word. Well, why not? It’s a fucking he feels like a pilgrimage. Like he’s come to Andrew Tate’s house, just stand outside of it and take selfies. And you actually talk to this man. And I think we can hear a clip of that now.
Clip Let’s say someone had video evidence of him committing these crimes. Would that also be part of the matrix tech? It depends. It depends if it was staged. Depends. If it was real, no one would know. No, no. No one would know. What threshold of evidence would you accept that he has committed these crimes? You said that he was guilty himself. Anything besides that? I would question it.
Nish Kumar It feels like a cult member.
Coco Khan Mm hmm.
Matt Shea Yup.
Coco Khan Yeah. I mean, that’s. I think that’s the thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about in terms of Andrew Tate is like, you know, why now? So, Yes. Okay. Why now? Because everyone’s got mobile phones and they can download video content. Okay, So that’s the technological side of it. Why now? Because there’s opportunity. Okay. But also, I wonder if why now? Because there is genuinely an immense distrust of the media, of politicians. So when somebody says, oh, they’re all in a cabal together, I mean, we were talking about Nadine Dorries earlier and in one of our clips she’s talking about like the powerful people, this kind of conspiratorial language that is everywhere, even from the people in charge. Is this a sign of the times?
Matt Shea People too often look at conspiratorial movements and kind of these hard right movements as a political ideology when often they’re closer to a spiritual ideology? The way that people talk about agitate, who are superfans, vegetate, they are moved to tears by him and moved to tears by any accusation that he could do wrong to them. He has been the one thing that’s that’s driven them out of their depth of insecurity and solved all their problems. And, you know, yeah, it really is more of a spiritual thing.
Coco Khan It’s great to hear you say that as well, because again, I’ve been thinking a lot about like I mean, you know, you two are two gentlemen. I mean, there is a crisis of masculinity. I think that perhaps there are ideas of how a man should be. But then the question is, you know, as a political podcast, what could politics be doing to stop this culture, this ideology embedding itself in an entire new generation? Because my concern is, is how would you undo that? You know, I mean, if you’ve got a load of 15 year old boys who genuinely believe that the feminazis are trying to take everything away from them, that the natural order is that women make sandwiches and men fight and they should be strong. How on earth do you undo that?
Nish Kumar Yeah, we should definitely like stress that a survey in February found that one in five schoolchildren, but some of them as young as 11, experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment whilst at school or sexually abusive behavior, which is becoming normalized in British classrooms. And the Department for Education is carrying out a review as we speak in how sex education should be taught in England in effort to kind of counter, I think, the sort of toxic masculinity. I mean, is there advice or guidance you could give to lawmakers for practical steps they could take in schools for combating tight and his ideologies?
Matt Shea Yeah, I think that there should be discussion of what it is to be a man. I think it’s okay to discuss what it is to be a good man and what are the positive aspects of masculinity. I just think that those positive aspects should be centered around things other than you want to own fast cars and have a harem of women. Yeah, and it should be there should be something else there. Of course there are great men in that we should look up to, but they just aren’t. Andrew Tate You know.
Coco Khan I wonder as well if there’s like a positive case to be made about, like, yeah, having happiness in life, as you say, that isn’t just driving a Lambo and acting like Vin Diesel and Vin Diesel would never have a problem with it. Everybody knows he only loves Michelle Rodriguez. It’s all about family.
Matt Shea Well, yeah, I think there’s lots of contradictions in this idea of masculinity that’s being touted by people like agitate. The most obvious one, I think, is this idea that, you know, to be a good man, you should be a protector of people. Right? But if what these women are saying is true, then who protects women from people like agitate or this idea that men should be stoic and hide their emotions. And yet also these men are constantly whining about how the whole world and society is stacked against them. You know, or the contradiction that, you know, we hear from a lot of men’s rights groups that the family courts are biased against men because women often get custody of children. But that’s exactly because of the gender stereotypes at the same men’s rights groups espousing. So it doesn’t actually make any sense. It’s full of contradictions.
Nish Kumar I’m just I’m always curious as to what, you know, law makers can like, what possible stuff they could do. I mean, in terms of policing social media, I mean, is it too late for someone like tape? I’m sitting here having this conversation with you and all three of us know that when the videos of this conversation to put on Instagram, they will be immediately filled with comments from angry and jittery fans. So do social media bans work? I mean, we too far gone in terms of being able to regulate it now.
Matt Shea All I’ll say is there are examples of successful regulation of information on social media? And there are unsuccessful examples of that? It is possible, you know, in the same way the New York Times can’t come out and just publish a lie.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Matt Shea Without serious consequences. Yeah. The same thing shouldn’t happen. On Twitter. You know, I I’ve had their comments about my reporting that have been viewed and retweeted millions of times that claim, for example, that my documentary was debunked to the point that it actually caused the financial collapse of vice, like a lot of people just believe.
Coco Khan That’s nuts.
Matt Shea Isn’t that libelous? You know, so I think there there has to be some merit because ultimately these social media websites, there are media websites and therefore they are kind of competitors with other media organizations like New York Times, like The Guardian, who are bound by very strict fact checking rules.
Nish Kumar I think that is such a brilliant and important point around social media that they have claimed that they are simply websites. Yes, they’re essentially just hosting conversations, but they have functioned in revenue terms as publishers. But they’ve had they have. And they’re not subject to any of the same regulations.
Coco Khan One of the things I’m really keen to get across in this time that we have with you is to for our listeners who may not be familiar with and you take that like, you know, it’s not just like shitty sexist opinions, it’s much deeper than that. And so you’ve been very close to his teachings, philosophy and saying that. Yeah. And I wanted to ask you about the training that he offers men.
Matt Shea This is this is really interesting and this is exactly what our new film goes into. And basically what we uncover is and this is mainly through interviews with two women who allege that they were groomed by members of the war room and also from internal messages that were leaked to us from within the war room and by a whistleblower. And what we uncovered was that there appears to be a kind of systematic method for grooming women specifically into online sex work. And that involves what they see as a kind of Pavlovian conditioning, which is how you train dogs. And again, not all your members will abide by these teachings, but some will. And and also sometimes they also brag about when it’s successful. You know, they will send pictures back to the war called receipts of the woman that they’re targeting with their initials tattooed on her body as proof, you know, that they’ve implemented these methods successfully. Also, I’ve seen messages where they talk about punishments they meted out on women. One man spoke about hitting one of these women over the head with a keyboard for refusing to work hard on her online webcam business. So, you know, there are at least some examples of violence, physical violence. And also I’ve seen them encourage men to kind of isolate these women from their families. So when you look at that picture together, then, yes, what we’re talking about is an ideology that to some degree could be described as enslavement.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Matt Shea And that, again, that is a term also that is used for female sexual slavery. And so.
Nish Kumar They call it the Loverboy method, where they so they they sort of pretend that they’re romantically interested in these women and then they start coercing them into webcam sex work and then basically taking they’re taking that sometimes, sometimes 100%.
Matt Shea Sometimes one of the money, sometimes 80%, some 50%. But yet the Loverboy method is mentioned by a lot of police forces, especially in Europe, trying to combat human trafficking. It is, as you said, when someone portrays himself as romantically interested in a woman and then they’re but their intention all along is to manipulate them into sex work. Now. You. You have to imagine, like you’re dating a guy and you think he’s in love with you. And then gradually over the course of, who knows, months, years, he begins to do weirder things like kind of reward your good, quote, good behavior with attention and sex and kind of punish your, quote, bad behavior with ignoring you and stuff. And then you don’t know this whole time he’s sending pictures of you and talking about you to this group of men who are actually instructing him how to coerce you into eventually doing webcam sex work. I mean, that’s horrifying. It’s like a kind of manual on coercive control.
Nish Kumar Yeah.
Coco Khan Yeah. And even just behaving in that way, like punishing certain behavior, whatever. But that is the basis of domestic violence. And so even if they’re not turning these women into a revenue stream, that normalizing that kind of treatment of another person in a relationship that is normalizing domestic violence and a number of domestic violence, charities have raised the alarm on this. I just want to leave you with one question. Are you closing your chapter on Andrew Tate?
Matt Shea Actually, I said that this documentary, this new documentary, we released it because the first one didn’t scratch the surface. Actually, the second one also doesn’t scratch the surface.
Coco Khan Wow.
Nish Kumar Yeah. Yeah.
Matt Shea So I think there will be more to come.
Nish Kumar The biggest thing that I take away from this, the second documentary, particularly, you’re watching video of a guy basically boasting about committing the crimes he’s accused of. That’s how it. That’s how it looked to me. Right?
Matt Shea It’s important to remember that Andrew Tate, Anderson Tate deny all these charges against them and would say that they are innocent. I think it’s likely that some of the things they said and in their courses and in their social media will show up in the investigation alongside intercepted audio conversations and other forms of evidence, allegations from women and so forth. All I’m focused on is I would never go beyond the facts, is just, you know, my job is to find evidence and report on it. And I think if I have one concern, it’s that no matter what we report on and how much reporting we do and no matter what charges may or may not be filed against him because of this army of followers and supporters, because of this marketing team trying to discredit every opinion that’s mentioned against him. Who knows if people will listen, Who knows that people will believe anything we say. And, you know, to some degree, what’s the point of journalism for that group who are the target of Andrew Tate if they don’t believe you?
Coco Khan Hearing you talk there like that, I think you sort of hit the nail on something that like is a growing concern. I think for a lot of us. Like, you know, we look to law, we look to media, we look to education as how we shape society. But, you know, social media, the global world of the lawless Internet, how do you how do you manage that? But I think fundamentally, as you pointed out, a lot of these Andrew Tate followers, you can talk to them. You committed to those monsters and Glastonbury and maybe the more we know about it, we can talk to our nephews or sons or whatever, and perhaps that’s the only way. So Andrew Tate, the man who grew in the world, is on BBC three at 9 p.m. on the 31st of August is then available on BBC iPlayer. This is your second documentary and I would urge everyone to watch the first as well.
Nish Kumar Thank you Matt.
Matt Shea Thanks very much.
Nish Kumar [AD]
Nish Kumar I’m going for former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who this week has been hawking around her new book. Brace yourself for this if you’re not aware of it. The book is called The Abuse of Power Confronting Injustice in Public Life. Now, Theresa may’s record as prime minister is not without issue. I think her record as home secretary is pretty famously with some pretty heavy issues. The Windrush scandal is widely thought to be the culmination of a policy that she implemented as Home Secretary under the headline Hostile Environment, repeatedly restating that the goal was to make the UK a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, but a policy that was pursued through such ventures as charting a fleet of vans with messages telling, suggesting immigrants that they go home and numbers that immigrants could call to facilitate their journeys home like a racist remake of the film Cars. Theresa May’s ongoing rehabilitation in public life is, I can only assume the result of. I mean, first of all, the result of several sections of the press is unquestioned. Support for her then blew up in their faces and their attempts to kind of rehabilitate, rehabilitate a reputation and therefore rehabilitate their own political analysis that she was going to be the fucking greatest prime minister of all time. But also, it’s a refusal to engage with how deeply unpleasant the Windrush scandal is because of endemic systemic racism in sections of the British media. And I think it’s also because people who came after her might have been worse. But, you know, just because you got punched in the face and then you got kicked in the nuts, you don’t go, Well, I really miss the house. The idea of being punched in the face. Theresa May was a terrible prime minister. She’s an awful person. When she left office, she cried. And I was delighted. And that remains my position. I hope her books are zero copies. And I wish nothing but misery on her. Coco. Coco who’s your PSUK Hero of the Week?
Coco Khan My Hero of the Week is a bit more in the in the realm of healing. Now, as you know, I’m a great believer in a music festival. I went to one over the weekend and genuinely every time I come back from a music festival, I’m like, Why can’t Britain be like this all the time? Why can’t we all sit around in the grass, in the sunshine? Someone does handstands, someone else does poy. Everyone says “all right mate” to each other. We all know that we’re going to share in probably some relatively disgraceful behavior later, but we accept it. We accept each other for the freaks and creatives and the lovers that we are. Why can’t it always be like that? So basically, my long, this is a long way of saying make Britain Glastonbury again. This is what I want, make Britain Glastonbury. But at this festival that I was at recently, I noticed a group of women in pink T-shirts, and on the T-shirts it said Safer Spaces Now, and they were just about enjoying this festival was a smaller festival, so you really got the sense you got to know people a little bit better. And I approached one of them and asked him about it and basically the UN has a campaign called Safer Spaces Now, and it is for women, it’s basically to raise awareness of the fact that seven out of ten women get harassed on nights out and women should be able to enjoy nightlife like everybody else. Obviously, our last episode was all about that. And so these these lovely volunteers who just volunteer their time, go and wear these pink T-shirts and just stand around at music festival so that if you’re feeling uncomfortable as a woman, you can approach them and say, Hey, mate, can you stand with me for a bit? Or Hey, mate, can you walk me back to my tent? Basically, you can ask them to be your you’re like busy mate for that period of time. They also walk around looking for anyone who’s maybe a bit drunk or could be taken advantage of. They’re just these completely voluntary guardian angels that exist, and they do it in their own time. And I love stuff like that. I love the whole just an average person helping another person. The kindness of strangers as Blanch Dubois would call it just doing a literary reference. Hello, Tennessee Williams for my American audiences, you know, and I just think it’s absolutely beautiful and healing and kind of wonderful and yeah, so everyone who has this summer volunteered to be a Safer Spaces Now. Angel yeah big you up your you’re our hero of the week.
Nish Kumar What a lovely way to round off the episode and to round off a festival summer. That’s a really nice positive message.
Coco Khan Although actually just on this there there was an email that I want to read out. It speaks to the risks faced by women at music events with reference to a discussion that we had last week about the decline of UK’s nightlife. It was written in from our listener Erin. They say I was saddened to hear about the closures of nightlife venues. I used to go to lots of clubs at music events. However, the reason I stopped going for the most part is because of the sexual harassment and even assault that I experienced while out at night. I know I’m not alone in this where people. Particularly women are too scared to go out at night. Not only that, I used to work in clubs and bars and I would be harassed on most shifts by customers. I went to management about it and they said, You have to toughen up. I was appalled. I is essentially told that I had to accept it. I think that this issue needs to be addressed either by the organizers or government or police or all of the above, and I absolutely could not agree more. You know, it really tells you something when the United Nations are launching campaigns on this. This is endemic and it’s so wrong. Like, you know, for people to be locked out of just joy and celebration is is really, really sad.
Nish Kumar And it speaks to a, you know, part of a continuum that involves male violence and people like Andrew Tate like it’s all part of a wide societal problem. I think we can only solve by talking to our boys. It’s a well-worn trope, but it doesn’t seem to be getting through to anybody that we only talk to women about sexual violence and we only talk to the victims and try and teach them ways of avoiding it rather than talking to men, the perpetrators, and trying to change the culture and the conversation around it. I think that that’s a really sad and horrible thing to hear. And it also makes organizations like the people you saw at the festival feel even more significant.
Coco Khan Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Nish Kumar So our last episode was about night life, as you mentioned, and it sparked a debate in our YouTube comments at Alex Time MIT 9454 says people not staying out till 7 a.m. as much all spending less on alcohol isn’t inherently bad. Have we considered Gen Z might not like clubbing as much? You might experience clubbing involves a lot of peer pressure towards overconsumption. I personally don’t think clubs having a hard time is top of the priority list right now for social issues. Replying to that at Edward Linden disagrees, saying at the very least it’s a serious economic problem. Jocks existed, now they don’t. Money circulated, now it doesn’t a culture thrive now it doesn’t. Personally, I loathe clubbing, but even I can see that this is a substantive problem. And you know, I would also say I sit very much on Edward Linden’s side of that. I am not a prolific night clubber.
Coco Khan Listen I’ve been to a night club with you mate. And I can assure you you are not a prolific night clubber. Hohohooo
Nish Kumar But spaces for people to, you know, commune and dance with one another. That’s an important part of being a young person.
Coco Khan You know, I definitely had this moment when I was at the festival and like I went to go see a DJ who’s a friend of mine. She was playing in the sort of like sunset slot, so like 6 p.m. or whatever. And there was a moment where her name’s DJ Kate Hutchinson, by the way, shout out to her she’s very good. And there was a moment where, you know, she was playing her like sort of big moment where it goes into like a Whitney Houston remix. Yeah. And obviously the crowd was going wild and I looked around and there was one woman wearing a shirt that was completely see through and she was completely naked underneath. There was another woman wearing a sort of bondage holster and then another man top to toe dressed as a wizard. And I did have a moment being like I could see why people might look at this moment and be like, this is not behavior we should encourage. These people are depraved, they are freaks, weirdos, creatives, artists, or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, is, you know, for some people it’s a way of expression. And increasingly how we express ourselves is in decline. Which is quite sad.
Nish Kumar Like you should be free to not want to go nightclubbing, but also you shouldn’t not be going nightclubbing because they’ve all shut down. You know, there is you know, there’s a there’s a balance to these kind of things.
Coco Khan You can get in touch with us by emailing PSUK at Reduced listening dot co dot UK. We’re loving your messages, but we would also love to hear your voices. So do send us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07514644572. Internationally, that’s +447514644572. We’d really just love to hear your thoughts on what we’ve discussed this episode. You can also nominate your own heroes and villains. Or if you’d like to ask us a question that we will try to answer, please note we may ruin your life with our bad advice, but you know we are here as your favorite political agony aunt and uncle. Next week, our guest is the Labour MP Chris Bryant. He’ll be talking about his book, Code of Conduct Why We Need to Fix Parliament. If you have a question you’d like to put to him, please let us know. You can send it in to us at PSUK at Reduced Listening dot co dot UK. By the way, it’s your last chance to make us really, really happy by voting for us in the British Podcast Awards. Public Vote. The listeners choice is free and easy to do. Just go to British Podcast awards dot com forward slash voting. Anyone can vote. So once again just go to BritishPodcastAwards.com/voting.
Nish Kumar And thanks to everybody who watched my stand up show which I got a lot of correspondence about it, which is very nice. It will be available for people who don’t live in the UK or have Sky at some point. I wish I had more details, than that but.
Coco Khan That was such a vague announcement.
Nish Kumar Listen if you got my Instagram or watch a video I made whilst under the influence of some pretty heavy painkillers after hand surgery, you’ll see that self promotion is not my forte.
Coco Khan Cool well we’ll keep out for that thing that might come out maybe sometime soon. We don’t know. Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.
Nish Kumar Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishopp Additional production assistance from Annie Keister.
Coco Khan Video editing was by David Koplovitz and the music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.
Nish Kumar Thanks to our engineer David Dugahe.
Coco Khan The executive producers are Louise Cotton, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Heringer.
Nish Kumar Watch us on Pod Save the World’s YouTube channel or follow us on Twitter, TikTok or Instagram, all of which we’re at Pod Save the UK.
Coco Khan And don’t forget to subscribe for new shows on Thursdays on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, or just wherever you get your podcasts.