On Thursday (29 December), the controversial online personality and his brother Tristan were detained in Romania as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation.
It is speculated that the arrest may not have happened had he not posted a clapback video addressed to Thunberg on Twitter.
The footage prominently featured pizza boxes from a local chain, Jerry’s Pizza. Some people have suggested that this inadvertantly served as proof to the authorities that he was in the country.
Tate was arrested within 24 hours of posting the video to social media.
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 has been detained on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming an organised crime group, prosecutors said on Thursday (29 December).
He and his brother – who have reportedly been under investigation since April – will be detained for 24 hours.
Prosecutors said they have found six women who claim to have been sexually exploited by the suspects.
Video that appears to show Tate and his brother being led away from a luxury villa by authorities has circulated widely online.
Tate is a former kickboxer who gained notoriety for his far-right and misogynistic views. He was banned from Twitter for saying that women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted.
He has since been reinstated on the social media platform.
Tate has also been banned from YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. TikTok also removed him, stating that “misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated”.
The unlikely online feud between Thunberg, 19, and Tate, 36, began earlier this week when the influencer apparently attempted to bait the environmental campaigner into a debate about the emissions of his “33 cars”.
He went on to list the specifications for his Bugatti and Ferraris, asking Thunberg for her email address “so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions”.
Thunberg replied to Tate on Wednesday (28 December) with a response that has been hailed as the best Twitter moment of the year.
She replied: “Yes, please do enlighten me. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
After sharing his initial reaction to Thunberg – a tweet that reads, “How dare you?!” – Tate later shared a further video response, which was branded by Twitter users as “pure cringe”.
In it, he is seen smoking a cigar while wearing a red dressing gown and going on a rant claiming that Thunberg was referring to herself in her own post.
During through the video, Tate receives pizza boxes from someone off-screen.
It is these pizza boxes – from a local chain in Romania – that seemingly allowed authorities to confirm he was in the country. Tate is American-British. He moved to Romania five years ago.
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