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Dan Reed was welcomed by Andrew Tate at his pool without a shirt.
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Dan Reed was welcomed by Andrew Tate at his pool without a shirt.

February 2023. Our full-access Andrew Tate documentary is going fine, even after the sudden plot twist of his arrest for allegations of rape and human trafficking in Romania. Marguerite Gaudin, the director, has managed to shoot Tate for a day in London – shopping on Savile Row, cosy chats in a limo, an appearance on Piers Morgan – and she’s now waiting for him to be released on bail to do more filming. Then everything falls apart.

While serving time in a prison cell in Bucharest, “the most searched man on the planet” takes breaks from his 500 push-up sets to enlist the help of a lawyer who has represented famous clients such as Michael Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, and Jussie Smollett. This lawyer, Mark Geragos, appears to have a dislike for me.

Geragos’s company is currently assisting in managing the consequences of the accusations of rape and human trafficking against Tate and his sibling. Their task involves handling the attention from global media, who have gathered in Bucharest and are preventing us from approaching Tate due to our past. My 2019 investigative piece on Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland, is now causing trouble for me.

Our journey with Tate began when we received an email five months prior. The subject line read: “Potential opportunity to create a documentary featuring the most controversial public figure of the moment.” Tate had faced backlash from numerous online platforms for making harmful comments about women in videos that were widely shared on TikTok by teenage boys during the summer of 2022. As is often the case, this “cancellation” only increased his popularity and he was hailed as a hero. By August of 2022, his fame had reached new heights, with him claiming to be the most searched man on the planet. (In reality, “Andrew Tate” was the eighth most searched name on the internet in 2022.)

Tate, right, and his brother Tristan outside the Court of Appeal in Bucharest last December.

I have frequently questioned the reason behind Tate’s team approaching us, considering our well-known documentary exposed claims of sexual misconduct by a popular public figure. It is possible that they did not do thorough research beforehand. As negotiations began with Channel 4 for a potential documentary, it became apparent that multiple production companies were also pitching the channel for the same “exclusive access” to Tate. We were simply a part of a widespread strategy to bring back the recently cancelled “Top G” for his British viewers on traditional television networks.

Tate, the son of a Black American chess champion, relocated to Marsh Farm estate in Luton during his childhood. He later became a successful kickboxer and transitioned into the role of a webcam “pimp” by capitalizing on the demand for pornographic content on websites like OnlyFans. He developed a method of engaging with male clients directly through chat while his female cam partners pretended to type on a dummy keyboard. In a podcast, Tate jokes about his shift from kickboxing to posing as a female online. This innovative approach proved highly successful as Tate expanded his team of cam girls and invested in more laptops to cater to the desires of lonely men worldwide, resulting in significant profits.

Tate incorporated a methodical strategy into his involvement in the online sex industry, which included manipulating and dominating the women who performed for him on camera. In a tutorial video aimed at potential webcam pimps, he declares, “You have to engage in sexual activity with the girls. A strictly professional relationship with a female won’t work. If you’re not having sex with her, someone else is. And that person will have power over her.”

Accusations of rape and physical abuse from female employees have resurfaced to trouble Tate. He is potentially facing legal action in Romania and the UK, where four women are attempting to sue him. Two of his accusers openly discuss their experiences in our documentary, but the details will be revealed later.

The documentary was commissioned by Channel 4 and in order to ensure that Tate fully understood the project, Marguerite and I traveled to Dubai to establish the guidelines. We were escorted to a villa in Emirates Hills, passing a bronze Bugatti, and approached the pool where Tate, his brother, and cousin were working on their laptops while shirtless. I recall thinking, “These individuals do not appear to be enjoying themselves.”

‘The only condition is you can’t film my screens’ … Tate in I Am Andrew Tate.

We were seated and offered water. Tate was friendly and charming. He discussed common “alt-right” topics such as Covid conspiracies and the stolen US election, but there was a mischievous glint in his eye. He also revealed that when creating his popular “Top G” lifestyle videos, he would gather a group of bikini-clad women on a boat, ask them to party while being filmed for about four minutes, and then return to work on their laptops. I found it interesting to see the manufactured nature of Tate’s content. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what he and his team were doing on their laptops all the time. Were they still targeting their male audience? It seemed like that type of work would no longer be necessary for someone of Tate’s status.

We listened for 20 minutes and then got to the point: “Andrew, I want to make it clear that this won’t be a superficial article. Do you understand?” “Yes, you can ask me anything. The only rule is you can’t record my screens.”

Tate announced that he would be picking up a diamond-studded watch from a nearby jeweler, and suggested that we film it. He also mentioned upcoming trips to Iceland in February and Romania in March. However, beyond that, he seemed uncertain about his future plans. He appeared unexpectedly vulnerable. As we left the vacant villa and passed by the Bugatti, there was a sense that Tate was feeling somewhat melancholy.

In late March 2023, Andrew and his brother Tristan were let out of jail and placed under house arrest in Romania. They returned to a building called “Top G House”, which was a shed-like structure with black walls and red neon lights. The building was located in a run-down cul-de-sac next to warehouses and rundown apartments from the Ceauşescu era, near a local airport. Marguerite flew out to meet them, making the first of six trips, and we asked Tate if we could film him. However, he always responded with “not right now”. Therefore, we changed our approach.

In other documentaries, Tate’s life story was never fully explored, leaving a puzzling gap in his background. The film-makers’ attempts to provoke Tate into admitting to controversial behavior added drama to the TV show, but did not offer any real insight into his character. Despite Tate’s initial reluctance to participate in our film, we were determined to tell his story in his own words.

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The outcome is much more enlightening than any information Tate could have provided through multiple days of interviews. In order to uncover the truth, Marguerite and her editor, Ben Hills, had to thoroughly review countless hours of Tate’s recordings. These included extensive documentary footage captured by amateur videographers who followed Tate for weeks or even years, as well as numerous podcasts in which Tate openly discussed his personal history, business practices, and violent behavior towards women. Additionally, there were numerous talk shows that featured Tate after his “cancellation,” such as Tucker Carlson, Candace Owens, and Alex Jones, as well as ongoing debates with his former friend Piers Morgan. We even discovered footage of him at 21 years old on the Channel 4 show Ultimate Traveller and on Channel 5’s Big Brother in 2016.

Tate was expelled from the Big Brother house after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman with a belt while she was partially clothed. Another video, posted by The Star, showed him slapping and hitting the same woman. Tate argued that it was all in good fun, while the woman initially stated that it was consensual. However, the Big Brother team discovered that he was under investigation by Hertfordshire police for rape and assault, prompting them to remove him from the show.

The extensive collection of recorded material served as the foundation for our account of Tate’s rise and fall. However, it was one of the women who reported him to the police who provided us with valuable insights into his darker nature. We were introduced to her through attorney Matthew Jury, who is representing her in a potential lawsuit against Tate in the UK. According to the woman, who is now 29 years old, she began working as a camgirl for Tate at the age of 20. He acted as a protective older brother figure for her. However, she claims that he sexually assaulted her twice and on the second occasion, strangled her until she was unable to breathe. Tate denies these accusations.

However, in the film, it is evident that Tate has extensively discussed online methods for dominating and overpowering women through sexual acts, physical aggression, and strangulation. The information conveyed by the young woman to Marguerite is generally corroborated by Tate’s own statements.

This is the point where the documentary becomes very real. It’s one thing to share the story of how Tate went from kickboxing champion to running a successful webcam business in eastern Europe, expanding his reach through his Hustler’s University courses and causing a global moral panic when it was revealed that teenage boys were consuming his content during the pandemic. But when you consider that the most influential person of our time could possibly be someone who openly advocates for violence against women and is facing multiple allegations of using rape as part of his business model, it’s more than just a minor issue in the online world, isn’t it?

This article was updated on January 5, 2024 after it was discovered that Andrew Tate’s father was a chess international master, not a grandmaster as previously stated.

  • The TV show “I Am Andrew Tate” will be airing on Channel 4 this Sunday at 9pm.

Source: theguardian.com