Who is Andrew Tate? The self-proclaimed misogynist influencer arrested in Romania

Andrew Tate has gained millions of followers as a self-styled internet misogynist. Credit: Twitter

By Multimedia Producer James Hockaday

He was one of the most Googled people in the world this year and has a legion of followers online.

Despite his notoriety, some will have only heard of Andrew Tate for the first time following his arrest in Romania on Thursday as part of a human trafficking investigation.

But the British-American former kickboxer has been making waves on social media for years and has steadily been amassing a fanbase with his brand of toxic masculinity.

Born in Chicago and raised in Luton, Mr Tate first rose to fame when he was removed from Big Brother in 2016 over a video appearing to show him attacking a woman with a belt.

The four-time world kickboxing champion claims the clip had been edited to make him "look bad".

Andrew Tate responded to climate activist Greta Thunberg amid a Twitter spat. Credit: Andrew Tate/Twitter

Despite his sporting success, Mr Tate, 36, has gained far more fame by showing off his lavish lifestyle of fast cars, guns, cigars on social media - and promoting of coercion and violence against women.

He has claimed women are the property of their husbands (even his own sister), that they shouldn't be allowed to drive and that they are lazy by nature.

The influencer, who has 3.5 million followers on Twitter, has suggested rape victims must "bear some responsibility" for being raped.

He's said he prefers dating women aged 18-19 because he can "make an imprint" on them and that there is "no such thing as an independent female".

Explaining in one video what he'd do if a woman accused him of cheating, he said: "It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up b**h."

Romanian authorities share video of a raid following the arrest of Andrew Tate

After a social media campaign to deplatform him over his content, Mr Tate was banned from TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram this summer, although he was recently allowed back on Twitter after Elon Musk's takeover.

At the time, he claimed old videos in which he was "playing a comedic character" had been "taken out of context" to create "false narratives" about him.

But he was quite clear in an interview with one YouTuber when he described himself as "absolutely a misogynist".

He added: "I'm a realist and when you're a realist, you're sexist. There's no way you can be rooted in reality and not be sexist."

The influencer, whose full name is Emory Andrew Tate, was named after his father, an American who worked for the US Air Force in the UK, and was also a chess master.

His mother and father met in Britain before moving to America, where they later divorced.

Andrew Tate is led away by police, in the Ilfov area, north of Bucharest, Romania. Credit: AP

Mr Tate moved to Luton with his mother following the split and says he and his younger brother Tristan grew up in poverty.

Since then, he says he has become a "self-made millionaire" through a webcam business. He said during a Podcast interview: "I had 75 women working for me in four locations and I was doing $600,000 a month from webcam."

In a now deleted page on his website, he wrote: "Over 50% of my employees were actually my girlfriend at the time and, of all my girlfriends, NONE were in the adult entertainment industry before they met me.

He added: "My job was to meet a girl, go on a few dates, sleep with her, test if she's quality, get her to fall in love with me to where she'd do anything I say, and then get her on webcam so we could become rich together."

Mr Tate moved to Romania five years ago, and his home in the capital Bucharest was raided by police on Thursday night.

He was initially held for 24 hours alongside his brother and two other suspects. All four will be held for 30 days during an investigation after a judge extended their initial detention period of 24 hours, said Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for Romanian anti-organized crime agency DIICOT.

On Friday prosecutors said the suspects "appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost".

A lawyer for the brothers has reportedly confirmed their detention. DIICOT has issued a statement, but did not name the Tates.

It said two British citizens and two Romanians were suspected of being part of a criminal group focused on human trafficking.

According to the directorate, six injured people have been identified in relation to the investigation, one of whom is said to have been violently sexually assaulted in March.

Some of the suspects allegedly used the “loverboy” method of trafficking, which involves a man luring a victim into a relationship in order to sexually exploit them later, DIICOT said.

The victims were transported and housed in buildings in Ilfov county, which surrounds Bucharest, where they were coerced into making pornographic content, it is alleged.

Mr Tate and his brother have been under investigation since April alongside two Romanian nationals.

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