That Time Tom Segura Did PR for Andrew Tate

That Time Tom Segura Did PR for Andrew Tate
Image via YouTube.

In December 2021 the right-wing influencer Andrew Tate flew to Austin, Texas and appeared on the podcast Your Mom’s House, hosted by the comedians  Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky. Their conversation took place a year before Romanian authorities arrested Tate on suspicion of rape and human trafficking, and 18 months before they formally indicted him on charges of rape, human trafficking, and sexually exploiting women. Segura and Pazsitzky, who are spouses as well as podcast co-hosts, could not have known what lay in Tate’s future. His past, however, was hardly a secret. By 2021, the former kickboxer and Big Brother contestant had gained international notoriety for his extreme misogynist views, including his belief that women are property and his apparent admission that he moved from the UK to Romania in 2017 to evade rape charges.

As you might expect from comedians in the Joe Rogan school of podcasting, Segura and Pazsitzky did not invite Tate on Your Mom’s House for a hard-hitting interview. No, the two were unabashed fans who embraced some of his most disturbing statements. When Tate argued that women should be submissive to men, Segura said he was “speaking the gospel.” When Tate mocked the "garbage" notion of a woman wanting “thoughts and opinions and a job” rather than to serve her husband, Segura chimed in, “Yeah, shut the fuck up.” When Tate described women’s liberation as a “psyop” and “the end of the world,” his hosts sat back and agreed. “It’s the feminization of the world,” Pazsitzky said of the modern age. "It's the era of feelings. Everybody's feelings matter. And like you said, the beta male is coming to power.”

The conversation would be disturbing even without the present context of Tate’s rape and trafficking charges. The man comes across as a total nutjob—a huckster ranting about how women are stupid and lazy, how men are “evolutionarily wired” for promiscuity while women are not—and his hosts are completely taken in. At one point he explains that he prefers sleeping with 19-year-olds over women in their 30s because they’ve had fewer sexual partners and are therefore easier to “contain and control.” "If a woman sleeps with a bunch of men, it's harder to penetrate her mind and make her fall in love with you," the 36-year-old says, in effect describing the "loverboy method" he allegedly used to traffic women. Segura’s response: “It is unattractive, too.” Later, Pazsitzky reflects that she might have argued with Tate when she was younger, but as a middle-aged parent she sees the light. “I don’t want to run the world. I'm tired. Let the boys do it. Seriously. Being in second place, it’s kind of great.”

"Most men never get to see women get knocked down a peg"

It is tempting (and popular) to write off the reactionary tendency in podcasters like Segura and Pazsitzky as a cynical effort to provoke the libs and win over right-wing audiences under the guise, somehow, of heterodoxy. In reality, it’s more often the product of genuine ideological conviction. Joe Rogan consorts with anti-vaxxers, transphobes, and conspiracy theorists because he likes what they have to say. Segura and Pazsitzky hung out with a guy who got kicked off Big Brother for hitting a woman with a belt because they like what he has to say. These days you can believe straightforwardly hateful things and have a perfectly successful career as a comedian. All you have to do is keep those beliefs behind the de facto paywall of hundreds of hours-long podcast episodes.

Some context. Segura is as close to an A-lister as you can get in standup without being Jerry Seinfeld or Dave Chappelle. He just released his fourth Netflix special. He packs auditoriums, making almost $140,000 from a single show in Charleston, West Virginia last year (before fees to his representatives), per records I've obtained from the city. In 2018 he and Pazsitzky sold a multi-cam sitcom to CBS; last year he published a New York Times-bestselling essay collection. With the possible exception of his most recent hour, which includes an odd bit about his son’s genitals and another about Pazsitzky injuring herself falling downstairs in their new home, he comes across as a normie middle-aged observational comic—a sort of older and grouchier Mike Birbiglia.

He’s also totally red-pilled. In the Tate episode, he shares a clip of the late influencer Kevin Samuels, a manosphere grifter who built a large (and primarily Black) audience promoting "rigid gender roles," per the Times, and offering frank appraisals of women’s appearances. “Winter is coming,” Samuels says in the clip. “No more Hot Girl Summer. No more twerking. Once you're over 35 or 40 years old, what do you have? You got bad knees, bunions and type-one diabetes.” That’s it, that’s the punchline. The hosts laugh, then Tate launches into his diatribe about how 19-year-olds are more attractive to him than 33-year-olds.

It turns out that Segura and Pazsitzky are big fans of this particular influencer. As Segura says in a June 2021 episode, Pazsitzky introduced him to Samuels' content, which he appreciates for the “honest” way he explains to female viewers that their looks are all that matter to men. ("No one's trying to marry your achievements," he paraphrases.) In an episode with the comedian Brian Simpson one year later, Segura describes Samuels as one of his “favorite guys to watch on the dating stuff” because he’s “just so straightforward.” Simpson agrees: “It’s entertaining, because most men never get to see women get knocked down a peg.” Segura responds, “Right, right,” before they all enjoy a clip of Samuels mocking a female caller’s weight.

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I describe these episodes to stress that the Tate interview is not a one-off flirtation with a controversial internet personality for the sake of provocation. Nor is Segura and Pazsitzky’s indulgence in misogynist humor some sort of isolated incident, an inevitable byproduct of their full-time job sitting around making jokes. It’s fashionable for comedians and their fans to defend The Podcast in the same manner they defend The Stage, as a magical Free Speech Zone where words contain no meaning and nothing anyone says can be said to reflect their beliefs. The truth is that podcasters spend a great deal of time saying exactly what they believe. Consider the following exchange, after Tate argues that women show respect to their partners by being compliant:

Pazsitzky: I worry if I'm too submissive, will he not respect me? Do you lose respect—
Tate: No, no, no, no, no. Get get rid of that. Get rid of that "won't respect me” crap. That's not real. So many women say to me, “Andrew, you know what? You're so rich, but you're smart and you're actually very intelligent. And I know you'd get really bored of, like, a robot." And I'm sitting there thinking, "Bitch, I wish to God you were a robot." You better shut the fuck up. We're talking about star signs. Oh yeah. I'm so glad. Tell me more about my Sagittarius Rising. Idiots. I don't give a fuck. Give me a robot. All men want robots. That's all we want.
Segura: Yes.
Tate: Four wife robots, inshallah.
Segura: Yes.
Tate: Put the burqa on.
Segura: Yep.
Tate: What are you talking about? We don't care… That's it. It's nice and easy. There's no such thing as too submissive. There's no such thing. I'm never gonna look at a beautiful woman who does everything I say and go, “You know what? You do too much of what I say. I wanna go get some disagreeable bitch.”
Segura: Yeah, exactly.
Pazsitzky: Wow.
Tate: On what planet?
Pazsitzky: But Cobra, let me tell you, what you're saying, if there's truth to it, and judging by my husband's reaction—listen, we've had world-famous comedians sit across from him. He's never spit coffee out of his nose like he just did for you.
Segura: It's because, you know what it is? Sometimes you see these videos of these guys that are lost and then they walk into a church, and then the preacher says like the exact right thing from the Bible. And the guy's like, “Oh my God, this is what I needed.” I feel the same way right now.
Tate: Love to hear that, friend. I love to hear that, thank you.
Segura: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really good to have you here, and speaking—I don't know, to borrow from them—I think you're kind of speaking the gospel right now.

Do you see what I mean? This is real. These are people speaking honestly to each other before an audience of millions. It’s not edgelord humor, it’s not boundary-pushing comedy, it’s not a bit. “This has been a fucking learning experience,” Segura tells Tate at the end of the conversation. “This has been enlightening, entertaining. I mean, I had high expectations but you exceeded them.” There’s no daylight between the two.

I will now ask you to consider that this sort of misogyny is not tangential to the value system of whoever holds it. The belief in an explicit gender hierarchy that depends on the subservience of women is not a personality quirk or a regrettable generational difference. It is a defining, all-consuming force that obliterates any capacity for reason or empathy, powerful enough to leave grown adults dazzled by the lunatic ravings of a transparent predator who just so happens to embody the natural conclusion of this belief.

The force I'm describing is colloquially referred to as hatred. It may not be evident in the superficial tenor of the conversation with Tate—Segura and Pazsitzky earnestly probing for morsels of wisdom, like awestruck pupils—but it burbles out here and there: Pazsitzky asking Tate how men could possibly like fat models (“I fucking abhor fat models, I don't wanna see somebody that looks worse than me modeling the clothes”); Segura agreeing as Tate angrily yells that women have more rights than men. It is also unmistakably clear in a more routine feature of Your Mom’s House, something that comes up in seemingly every other episode: the hosts’ seething contempt for trans people.

“This Is Utter and Complete Nonsense”

To put it bluntly, Segura and Pazsitzky are obsessed with trans people. This obsession most commonly takes the form of casually dismissive jokes about pronouns and nonbinary gender identities, but that's the tip of the iceberg. Often they’ll play clips of young and/or trans people explaining various gender-related concepts, then mock those people. Sometimes they’ll chat with their friends in comedy, like Louis CK and Andrew Schulz and Yannis Pappas, about how crazy all this gender stuff really is. They’ve been doing this for years. Consider a 2017 episode where they watch an interview with a nonbinary college student. When the student describes their identity as something in constant flux, Pazsitzky observes that she, too, dresses more feminine on some days and more masculine on others. (Warning: misgenderings ahead.)

Pazsitzky: We’ve just discovered that I’m not—
Segura: Oh my God.
Pazsitzky: I’m nonbinary.
Segura: You’re nonbinary.
Pazsitzky: Oh my God. This whole time I've been so confused.
Segura: [It's unclear if he is rhetorically addressing her or the student.] I think, by the way, I know there's some people listening that are shaking their head. I think you deserve the full mockery of what you're going to get, because this is utter and complete nonsense. You're not different. Everybody, from day to day, can feel more feminine or masculine.
Pazsitzky: I agree. I feel as though throughout my day, I switch and—but then I don't demand that other people address me by my proper pronoun.
Segura: Because you're not an asshole, that's why.
Pazsitzky: Right, right. That's the problem, the demand that the external world match the internal world. That you refer to me as my chosen pronoun.
Segura: Yeah.
Pazsitzky: Hold on, I'm a Zer now.
Segura: Yeah.
Pazsitzky: [Referring to the student.] So does she go full He?
Segura: Who?
Pazsitzky: It.
Segura: That?
Pazsitzky: They!
Segura: They—I don't know. Zim. Well, let's Zer it up a second.

And here’s an episode from earlier this year, where they cackle at a video of an elderly southern man describing gender nonconformity as a mental illness:

Pazsitzky: I could not love this gender stuff more. It is the highlight of this decade, the idea that there are multiple genders. Just pick one, roll with it.
Segura: I know, it's so fun… The fun thing about this clip is actually, for most people, it probably strikes them as a curveball. Because what you think that this three-toothed redneck is going to say is “What?” You know? But he’s actually very aware—like, I didn’t think that he would know what the word “pronoun” meant. So that’s where I thought this was going, and that he’d be like, “What?” And then he’s actually like, “I don’t mess with this mental illness.”

And here’s a brief excerpt from their appearance on Tim Dillon’s podcast two months ago:

Segura: I like to be to the point where I go like, "Oh, I'd fuck this chick." And then she pulls her dick out and I go, "I guess I still will." You know?
Dillon: Yes. That's exactly right.
Segura: You know? That fooled. I want to be completely—
Dillon: You wanna be thrown. You wanna be thrown.
Segura: And I think that is the way to get—especially if you're talking about part of the country being transphobic, you gotta fuckin' really fool 'em.
Dillon: A hundred percent. 'Cause I think people are afraid of teachers turning their kids into 300-pound trans communists. They're not worried about their kids being hot trans people.
Pazsitzky: So true.
Dillon: If literally you had a meeting and went, "They're going trans, we can't stop it, but they're gonna be hot."
Pazsitzky: I know.
Dillon: "They're gonna be hot." At least some of the parents would be like, "Hey, I got a hot trans kid as opposed to like some fat disgusting trans communist."
Pazsitzky: Well, same with the nonbinaries. If the nonbinary community weren't always obese girls with purple hair and bad piercings, I might be more on board with them too.
Dillon: Yes. Or if those obese girls with purple hair started coming out and going, "We don't need welfare. Get a fucking job you lazy piece of shit."
Segura: Yeah.
Dillon: Then Republicans would start going—
Segura: "Oh, this is great."
Dillon: "Yeah, we disagree with them"—they'd start using the pronouns. They'd be like, "We disagree with them. They are making some interesting points though.”

This is disgusting stuff; I’m sorry to subject you to it. At the same time, I think it’s important to witness just how far down the rabbit hole these people have gone, especially given that they're taking huge audiences with them. (YMH Studios, which produces Your Mom's House, has almost two million YouTube subscribers.) If you or I went into our workplaces and said these things—let alone anything in the Andrew Tate episode—we would rightfully be reprimanded, shunned, fired. If a mainstream political commentator said them, they would quickly find themselves unemployable outside the conservative media ecosystem. In comedy, whose norms have long allowed its workers to enact a sort of mass gender harassment on the general public, Dillon and Segura are two of the most popular artists working today.

It’s worth noting, too, how these segments reveal the bonds between misogyny and transphobia, which function together as a backlash against the erosion of white male supremacy. In their shamelessness, these comedians allow us to see clearly the violent impulses at the heart of it all, the demand for subservience to the male gaze and the male body. Most terrifying to me, though, is the part I can't render in text, their gleeful and uncontrollable laughter. Awful things are happening in our country. Powerful forces are working to subjugate and eliminate the real, living people at the heart of these jokes. I shudder to see comedy’s power used in this way: first to abstract the comedian and their audience from genuine evils at work in the world, then to subsume them into that work.

I would say that Segura and Pazsitsky’s conversation with Andrew Tate is a perfect representation of this power, but it turns out there’s a more perfect one: Tim Dillon interviewed him at his compound in Romania in an October 2022 podcast, offering Tate the opportunity to clear up all those terrible things people were saying about him. (He was arrested two months later.) But that’s for another day.

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