Andrew Tate is no stranger to controversy.
The former kickboxer and social media influencer, who has gained notoriety over the years for peddling misogynistic views, was detained in Romania on Thursday 29 December on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming an organised crime group, prosecutors said.
The arrest came after Tate shared a video hitting back at climate activist Greta Thunberg, prominently displaying pizza boxes from local chain Jerry’s Pizza. Authorities apparently used this as proof he was in the country; he was arrested less than 24 hours later.
On Friday (30 December), Thunberg responded to news that their online spat had aided in Tate’s arrest.
The climate activist was not short of quippy replies, writing on Twitter: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”
Tate and his brother – who have reportedly been under investigation since April – will be detained for 30 days.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Andrew Tate?
Emory Andrew Tate is a social media influencer and former kickboxer.
Tate was born in the US but came to live in Britain when he was four years old.
He is also the founder of Hustler’s University, an online “academy” where members pay a monthly membership fee in exchange for advice on how to make a passive income from several online industries.
How popular is he and does he have a girlfriend?
Prior to being banned, Tate had a huge Instagram following of 4.6 million.
His popularity soared after videos of him began circulating on TikTok. At the time of writing, the hashtag #AndrewTate has accumulated 12.7 billion views.
Tate has been rumoured to be in a relationship with Naghel Georgiana Manuela. He shared a photograph of himself and Naghel aboard a private plane to his Instagram in October 2021.
“Flying in my Jet with the only woman I trust. Magic powers,” he captioned the post.
Tate first joined Twitter in 2011, but was banned in 2017 for violating its terms of service with tweets he wrote about violence against women. His account was reinstated in November 2022, after Twitter’s policy changed under Elon Musk, which promotes “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach”.
“Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted and demonetised, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet,” Musk said.
Tate is currently banned from a handful of popular social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
He was reinstated on Twitter after Elon Musk took over the platform.
Is Andrew Tate rich?
Tate has previously claimed that he is the world’s first trillionaire. This is completely unproven.
He has different “business ventures” like Hustler’s University, an online “academy” where members pay a monthly membership fee.
It is an online school that apparently helps people make money through 18 wealth creation methods, and reportedly has around 100,000 paying subscribers who are charged around $49.00 per month.
Tate also sells digital products and access to “private communities” on his website.
In an interview with The Mirror in March, Tate and his brother Tristan revealed they run an adult webcam business, which employs lingerie-clad models to have chat sessions with men.
During the chats, which are charged at $4 (£3.30) an hour, the models tell male callers about “fake sob stories”.
The brothers admitted that the operation was a “total scam”, but they are protected by two lines in their terms and conditions.
Tristan said: “One is broadcasting is ‘for entertainment purposes only’. That means if a model says she has a sick dog or a sick grandma it doesn’t have to be true. The next is that all cash given to models is ‘a voluntary sign of gratitude for their time broadcasting’.”
What are the controversies surrounding him?
In 2016, Tate was booted from the 17th season of Big Brother after just six days, after a video surfaced showing Tate hitting a woman with a belt. In a statement, Tate and the woman in the video both said the actions in the video were consensual.
Tate has been the subject of much criticism in recent weeks, primarily for his views on women, which have been denounced as misogynistic.
In one video in which he is seen discussing feminism, Tate said women should “shut the f*** up, have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee”.
Some of his most viral videos see him expressing opinions such as “women can’t drive”, that men can cheat but women can’t, and that 18-year-old women are “more attractive than 25-year-olds because they’ve been through less d***”.
On 29 December 2022, Tate hit out at climate campaigner Greta Thunberg in a tweet, asking her to offer her comments on the carbon emissions of his cars.
“I have 33 cars,” he claimed, before listing the specifications for his fleet of Bugatti and Ferraris.
“This is just the start,” Tate, 36, continued. “Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions.”
In the reply, Thunberg replied with a brutal response: “Yes, please do enlighten me. email me at email@example.com.”
Tate later responded: “How dare you?!”
On 29 December, reports emerged that Tate had been detained in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming an organised crime group, prosecutors said. The siblings have been under criminal investigation since April, it was reported.
Prosecutors said they had found six women who claimed to have been sexually exploited by the suspects.
Authorities allegedly used Tate’s social media post in which he ridiculed a Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza, to confirm he was in the country.
It is speculated that the arrest may not have happened if he had not posted a comeback video to mock Thunberg on Twitter.
The climate activist wrote on Twitter: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”
Which social media platforms have banned him and why?
TikTok has confirmed it has permanently banned an account belonging to Tate as part of an ongoing investigation to remove content that violates its policies.
“Misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated on TikTok. We’ve been removing violative videos and accounts for weeks, and we welcome the news that other platforms are also taking action against this individual,” a spokesperson told The Independent.
However, most viral videos of Tate on the platform are shared by fan pages and other users.
TikTok said it is using technology to remove duplicated clips of Tate’s content from the platform altogether and is reviewing new content as it is shared.
Tate has also been removed from Facebook and Instagram. A spokesperson for Meta confirmed to The Independent that Tate had been banned from both platforms for violating its policies, citing the company’s guidelines on “Dangerous Individuals and Organisations”.
What have people said about him?
The extent of Tate’s influence became evident earlier this week when radio presenter and TV personality Abbie Chatfield revealed that she has been receiving abusive direct messages from Tate’s fans.
In an appearance on Australian talk show The Project, Chatfield said she had first-hand experience of how Tate’s views are influencing young boys.
“I’m getting DMs [direct messages] from what appears to be early teen boys, saying ‘I hope Andrew Tate destroys you’.
“I also get comments calling me Abby Tate, comments on TikTok especially. That’s where it’s really rife.”
In a statement to The Independent in response to Chatfield’s comments, Tate said: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion and open discourse is very important for society to find the truth.
“I receive 10,000 hateful messages a day from her fans also. She has caused me more hate than I’ve ever caused her.
“Truthfully I wish nobody received any hateful messages at all and we could discuss issues openly without fear. I wish her the best in all aspects of her life!”
What have women’s groups said about him?
In November 2022, White Ribbon, a charity that works to end male violence against women, raised the alarm that Tate’s videos could have a concerning effect on young boys and men. The organisation also called on TikTok to remove content about Tate from its platform.
“Men and boys regularly watching and listening to negative presentations of masculinity may begin to adopt these attitudes and behaviours, believing that they are acting as the ‘ideal man’,” the charity told MailOnline.
“This relates to being seen as tough, aggressive and suppressing emotion. These traits feed into gender norms, what ‘being a man’ and ‘being a woman’ is. Gender inequality is a direct result of traditional and negative stereotypes which confine women’s and men’s roles in society.”
Dangerous cultures and environments for women and girls to exist in
Charity White Ribbon
They continued: “Not only does this create a lot of pressure on men and boys, often affecting their mental health and self-image, it also creates dangerous cultures and environments for women and girls to exist in.
“Sexist and derogatory comments exist on the same spectrum as controlling behaviour and physical and sexual violence, which creates environments where men go on to murder women.”
In a statement to The Independent in response to White Ribbon’s statement, Tate said he makes “many videos praising women”.
“As a success coach I talk about avoiding low value people. I often teach men to avoid friends who take drugs or only watch TV. I teach them to find good male friends and role models, and also say to avoid toxic people as a whole,” Tate said.
“This means I also say to avoid toxic women, as well as toxic men. Everybody ignored everything I say about avoiding bad men and only says I dislike women for saying avoid bad women.
“It has nothing to do for hate for women. Its simply about good and bad people. My mother is my hero.
“I play an online character and am brash and bravado but my views are pure and simply say to find the highest value men and women you can with good hearts.”