Voices: What is The Matrix? How Extremely Online men found a new way to describe accountability

A man stands outside the Court of Appeal during the hearings for the Tate brothers (AP)
A man stands outside the Court of Appeal during the hearings for the Tate brothers (AP)

Extremely Online men and their toxic fellow travellers have discovered a novel way of avoiding the consequences of their own actions, turning to one of the biggest sci-fi movies of the 1990s for inspiration.

Logan Paul this week joined the inauspicious company of Andrew Tate and Elon Musk in blaming “The Matrix” for his own personal misfortunes.

Paul, a professional wrestler, podcaster, sports drink entrepreneur and one of the most popular YouTubers in the US, tweeted on Tuesday: “the matrix is real. pray you never become its target”.

It is not clear what prompted Paul’s tweet, but the 27-year-old has been on the back foot for weeks as he faces criticism over accusations of scamming investors and abandoning his pet pig.

Paul, it should be noted, has spoken out forcefully against Tate’s misogyny, which makes his decision to join the ranks of the red-pilled so confusing.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Using The Matrix as a byword for consequences was popularised by Andrew Tate, the misogynist provocateur who was recently arrested in Romania on human trafficking and rape charges.

The 36-year-old earned a captive online audience of young impressionable men with promises to help them “escape the Matrix” if they paid a monthly fee to join his Hustler’s University online academy, which teaches lessons on crypto investing and drop shipping and has been described as a pyramid scheme.

Tate previously described The Matrix as “the systems which are being created by society that are deliberately designed to enslave.”

Following his arrest in Romania last month, a tweet from Tate’s Twitter account read: “The Matrix has attacked me. But they misunderstand, you cannot kill an idea. Hard to Kill.”

Confusingly still, given that he is still in police custody, he then responded to Paul’s tweet blaming The Matrix and accused him of being an agent of the Matrix himself.

Thrice-divorced billionaire Musk, who has also taken to moonlighting as an online provocateur by mocking people who list their pronouns, has suggested on many occasions that humans are living in a simulation, and posted a meme featuring The Matrix shortly after Tate’s arrest.

Logan Paul faces criticism after pig that allegedly belonged to him is rescued by animal sanctuary (Getty / The Gentle Barn)
Logan Paul faces criticism after pig that allegedly belonged to him is rescued by animal sanctuary (Getty / The Gentle Barn)

On one notable occasion, Musk urged his Twitter followers to “take the red pill,” a reference to a scene in the 1999 movie in which the main character Neo decides to leave the computer-simulated world in which he lives, and a popular phrase among American conservative who once held liberal views. Ivanka Trump, daughter of then-president Donald, responded: “Taken!”

Lilly Wachowski, one of the creators of The Matrix movie and a trans woman, responded: “F*** both of you.”

Paul has recently faced a backlash for encouraging people to invest in his company CryptoZoo, a blockchain/NFT/cryptocurrency enterprise which he described as a "really fun game that makes you money".

A year after its launch no game has materialised, the entire project has been labelled a “scam”, and many investors have spoken out against Paul for abandoning them. Paul has since apologised to investors who lost money and said he “will make this right.”

Paul also came under fire after a California animal shelter rescued an abandoned pig that once belonged to him. Paul later explained that he rehomed the pig responsibly at a ranch, which subsequently rehomed it again.