Who is Andrew Tate? Influencer and his brother detained in Romania on British warrant

 (Inquam Photos / George Calin via Reuters)
(Inquam Photos / George Calin via Reuters)

Controversial influencer and self-described misogynist Andrew Tate has been detained in Romania after being handed an arrest warrant issued by UK authorities, his spokesperson has said.

Tate, 37, was arrested alongside his brother Tristan on Monday night on allegations of sexual aggression that date back to between 2012 and 2015. Both deny all allegations against them.

Lawyers representing four women who accused Tate of rape and sexual assault wrote to British police to immediately seek his detention after receiving information he was planning to flee Romania, a statement said.

Tate’s spokesperson Mateea Petrescu said the Bucharest Court of Appeal is set to make a "pivotal decision" on Tuesday on whether to execute the warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates Court.

The brothers are also being investigated by Romanian authorities on separate charges of rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang, which the pair also deny.

Prosecutors allege that the two defendants formed a crime gang in 2021 “in order to commit the crime of human trafficking” in Romania, as well as in the US and Britain. Two female Romanian associates were also named alongside the brothers in an indictment published in June.There are seven female victims in the case, they allege, who were lured with false pretences of love and transported to Romania, where the gang sexually exploited and subjected them to physical violence.

One defendant is accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and claims they were in debt, the prosecution claims.

The self-proclaimed misogynist was previously banned from social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views.

Andrew Tate is awaiting trial in Romania (Inquam Photos / George Calin via Reuters)
Andrew Tate is awaiting trial in Romania (Inquam Photos / George Calin via Reuters)

Who is Andrew Tate?

Andrew Tate, 36, was born Emory Andrew Tate III on December 14, 1986. He is an American-British kickboxer born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Luton, England.

He is the son of the late chess player Emory Tate, and his mother was a catering assistant.

Tate worked as a TV producer while training as a kickboxer, before he went on to fight professionally.

His appearance on Big Brother in 2016 kick started his life in the public eye, and since then, Tate has gained notoriety for making offensive, misogynistic comments on social media, resulting in TikTok notoriety.

Videos of Tate amassed millions of views on the social media platform, drawing widespread criticism and calls from women’s charities to have him removed.

The influencer was arrested in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking and rape on December 29, 2022. The former kickboxer was detained alongside his brother and two Romanian nationals.

Romanian officials arrested Tate in late December after an organised crime unit raided his property in Bucharest. Tate and his brother have been under criminal investigation since April. He will reportedly be detained for 30 days.

His arrest came soon after he provoked environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter, boasting about his cars and the emissions they produce. In reponse, she tweeted: “please do enlighten me. email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com”.

Tate hit back with a video in which he asked someone off-camera to bring him pizza, sparking theories that the Romanian pizza boxes allegedly informed authorities of Tate’s whereabouts.

But how did he get to this point?

Why was Andrew Tate banned from Meta’s Instagram and Facebook?

Meta banned Andrew Tate from Instagram and Facebook for violating its policies.

Commenting on the decision, Meta said that it removed Tate from its platforms for “violating its policies on dangerous organisations and individuals”, but did not provide further details, reports the BBC.

Tate earned infamy for his offensive remarks on social media since his brief stint on Big Brother in 2016 - which also ended in scandal after he was removed from the show over a video that appeared to show him attacking a woman - a clip he claimed had been edited.

He went on to gain notoriety online, with Twitter banning him from the platform after he said that women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted.

At the time of his removal from the social media platform Instagram, Tate had 4.7 million followers, gaining appoximatley 1 million followers since June, reports the BBC.

Meta said it had removed the kickboxing star from its platforms for violating its policies on dangerous organisations and individuals but did not provide further details.

Responding to news of Tate’s ban from Facebook and Instagram, Joe Mulhall, director of research at Hope Not Hate, said: “Tate poses a genuine threat to young men, radicalising them towards extremism misogyny, racism and homophobia.

“We’ve provided significant evidence to the major social media platforms, including Meta, about his activity and why he must be removed.

“We welcome Meta’s swift action to remove Andrew Tate and we’ll be putting pressure on TikTok to follow this example. They must act now to prevent further spread of these extremist views.”

In a statement, a TikTok spokesman said: “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.”

Ruth Davison, chief executive of women’s safety charity Refuge, said Meta had made the “right decision” in banning Mr Tate.

“This is the kind of decisive action needed to tackle the online radicalisation of young men towards a violently misogynistic worldview,” she said.

“The same kind of action is now needed outside of high-profile cases like this – we know that women are experiencing stalking, harassment and abuse online every day, often without so much as a response from social media companies.”

Big Brother appearance and removal

Andrew Tate appeared on the 17th season of Big Brother UK, in 2016. However, he was removed after a week after a video emerged of him violently hitting a woman with a belt and verbally abusing her.

Tate later said that the actions in the video were consensual and that he was still friends with the woman.

But Big Brother viewers had already called for him to be removed from the house after offensive tweets resurfaced.

He allegedly wrote abusive tweets about Girls Aloud singer Cheryl and was accused of being homophobic and racist.

Andrew Tate was removed from Big Brother after a week. (© Channel 5)
Andrew Tate was removed from Big Brother after a week. (© Channel 5)

Comments on depression and backlash

In September 2017, Tate drew attention–and faced a backlash–on Twitter after claiming that depression isn’t real.

In a tweet, he said: “Depression isn’t real. You feel sad, you move on. You will always be depressed if your life is depressing. Change it.”

Even Harry Potter author JK Rowling responded, by sharing his tweets and saying: “This thread will teach you a lot about the defence mechanism of projection, but zero about the real mental illness that is depression.”

Controversial comments on sexual assault

A month later in October 2017, amid the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, Tate came under fire for saying that women should “bear responsibility” for being raped.

On Twitter, he said: “If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must [bear] some responsibility. I’m not saying it’s OK you got raped.

“No woman should be abused regardless. However with sexual assault they want to put zero blame on the victim whatsoever.”

At the time, he also said: “A man looking at you or whistling at you or asking your name isn’t harassment.

“This belief does discredit as a whole. Stick to the serious definitions and stop pretending normal male behavior is rape.”

He also said: “Women have been exchanging sex for opportunity for a very long time. Some did this. Weren’t abused.”

This backlash brought him more fame, which resulted in an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ podcast InfoWars, and saw him mingle with right-wing figures like Donald Trump Jr, Nigel Farage, and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson.

TikTok fame and Hustler’s University

Throughout 2022 and 2023, Tate went  viral on TikTok for his  controversial comments. But his growth on the social media platform is not totally organic.

Tate has founded an online learning platform called Hustler’s University, which sees him charge his followers £36 a month to access courses about how to make money.

The website also sells specific programs for thousands of pounds–that supposedly teach subscribers how to get rich.

His subscribers can also earn money by selling a membership to someone else, similar to a multi-level marketing scheme.

The Guardian reported that thousands of Tate’s Hustler’s University members worked together to flood TikTok with videos of him in a “blatant attempt to manipulate the algorithm” and “artificially boost his content.”

Now, TikTok feeds are flooded with videos of Tate making offensive statements, mostly about women.

What has Andrew Tate said about women?

As well as his offensive comments about sexual assault, Tate has also said that women “belong in the home” and that they are a “man’s property.”

He has said that if a man sleeps with a woman while he has a girlfriend he loves, it doesn’t count as cheating, but if his girlfriend spoke to another man, he would consider it cheating.

Tate said a man shouldn’t let a woman go to a restaurant or nightclub with her friends if he isn’t there too, and that she should stay at home instead.

He has also said that “probably 40% of the reason” he moved to Romania was because it was easier to evade rape charges.

He added: “I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free.”

What have women’s charities said about Andrew Tate?

Policy lead at Rape Crisis England and Wales, Amelia Handy, told The Daily Mail: "These videos are a clear example of rape culture, where rape and sexual violence are minimised and survivors are blamed for crimes committed against them."

A spokeswoman from domestic abuse charity White Ribbon told MailOnline said: “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.’

“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.”

She added: “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.”

Zainab Gulamali, policy and public affairs manager at Women’s Aid, told the publication: “Making derogatory comments and videos about abusing women is as dangerous as it is unacceptable: this normalises the misogynistic and sexist attitudes which are at the root of all violence against women and girls.

“We know that violence against women and girls is a spectrum, running from sexist comments and ‘banter’, right through to horrifically violent crimes and murder.

“Sexist actions and language that reinforce women’s inequality have been tolerated for too long. It is vital that we all challenge these deep-rooted misogynistic attitudes, which normalise women being emotionally abused, belittled, and controlled, as well as physically harmed.”

What has Andrew Tate said about the allegations of misogyny?

In a statement, Mr Tate denied he held misogynistic views and accused his critics of “twisting facts”.

“It is very unfortunate that old videos of me, where I was playing a comedic character, have been taken out of context and amplified to the point where people believe absolutely false narratives about me,” the statement said.

“Internet sensationalism has purported the idea that im (sic) anti women when nothing could be further from the truth. This is simply hate mobs who are uninterested in the facts of the matter trying to personally attack me.

“The media is spinning a false image of me, on repeat, and instagram bowing to pressure is a massive shame.

“I have nothing but positivity to spread regarding all PEOPLE, wether (sic) male OR female, and this has been reflected in all of my recent messaging and posts.”