Andrew Tate will remain behind bars for at least another month after a Romanian court upheld his detention for suspected human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang.
The king of toxic masculinity was filmed being led from a police van into court on Monday to lose yet another appeal to be freed, meaning he and his brother Tristan will stay in jail until 29 March at the earliest.
And whilst there were no audible cries about “the Matrix” this time, Tate couldn’t help but offer some fodder to his army of loyal fans.
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As he walked past a sea of reporters, the influencer clutched his hands in a diamond shape – inviting a fresh round of speculation as to what the gesture actually means.
Tate has repeatedly made the signal which, of course, means it is now emulated by legions of impressionable young men and boys.
The sign has been linked to a number of conspiracy theories, including that Tate and his brother – who also regularly performs it – are linked to the Illuminati.
However, extremism expert Tim Squirrell, of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has warned that such suggestions only work to undermine any attacks on Tate by implying that there’s a secret plot against him.
Squirrel told VICE: Andrew Tate is not part of the Illuminati, because the Illuminati is not a real organisation. Is it dangerous to believe that he is?
“It’s possible that this might increase his appeal as a member of one secret group fighting against the ‘matrix’ – which is essentially another word for ‘deep state’, or any other secret, entrenched enemy who operates from the shadows.”
Tate and his brother Tristan regularly hold their hands in a diamond shapeAP
Tate, meanwhile, has offered his own explanation for the signal, saying it is a “power move” inspired by his late father Emory Tate, who allegedly used to make a similar sign.
“You can find a picture of my father and he’s sitting there with a hand symbol… he locks his fingers and he puts his thumb in hand,” Tate said in a video, as reported by SK Pop.
“I do the same thing because I am my father’s son. I do it a lot for my Instagram pictures and the Instagram posts are a few examples of me doing it and my father doing it.”
He continued: “The reason I do it is because when your brain is as advanced as mine you have to complete the circuit.”
He added: “I do it because it increases my power. It’s like a power-up.”
After urging his “gentlemen” followers to try it, he responded to brother Tristan’s suggestion that women were bound to be watching the video too, according to the New York Post.
Tate responded: “Of course — but they ain’t got any power.”
It’s such comments that keep parents and teachers of adolescents up at night, and why experts like Squirrell worry about the power of the hand gesture.
“There’s a two-pronged appeal here,” He told VICE. "For one, you can show your endorsement of controversial people or beliefs without having to say it outright, allowing you plausible deniability and possibly avoiding consequences like detention or censure.”
“You can also signify that you have hidden knowledge – that you’re aware of what this sign means to you and others around you who are part of the in-group who are in the know, and that’s a very appealing identity marker for children and teenagers.”
He added that even if boys are using the gesture “ironically” this still poses a problem.
“For women and girls who are around it, that doesn’t really make much of a difference – ‘ironic’ endorsement of violent misogyny is, in many instances, indistinguishable from the real thing and creates an unsafe atmosphere for them,” he said.
“They should absolutely be concerned about children engaging with Tate’s content. Not only does he endorse violent misogyny, based on recent reporting it appears there’s good reason to believe that he has engaged in hideous and brutal violence against women, as well as being an alleged human trafficker.”
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