Controversial online influencer Andrew Tate has been detained in Romania as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation, the BBC reported.
The American-British kickboxer-turned-influencer has called himself the “king of toxic masculinity.” He began the week with a Twitter spat with youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, and ended it getting arrested in Romania.
Tate’s rise to notoriety started when he was removed from Big Brother in 2016 over a video that appeared to show him attacking a woman with a belt.
He went on to gain notoriety online, with Twitter banning him for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He has since been reinstated by its new owner, Elon Musk.
Tate has been banned from social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, with TikTok also removing him, saying “misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated”.
Despite social media bans he gained popularity, particularly among young men, by promoting a so-called ultra-masculine, ultra-luxurious lifestyle.
He was arrested in Romania along with his brother Tristan on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organized crime group, prosecutors have said.
A spokesperson for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said prosecutors had applied to hold the influencer at a “detention center” for an additional 30 days.
A judge will rule on the application on Friday afternoon, the spokesperson added. The brothers have been under investigation since April alongside two Romanian nationals, Sky News reported.
Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism issued a statement, but did not name the Tate brothers, stating that two British citizens and two Romanian citizens were suspected of being part of a human trafficking group.
The statement said officers had identified six people who were “sexually exploited” by what it called an “organized criminal group”.
Police alleged the victims were “recruited” by the British-American citizens, who they said had misrepresented their intention to enter into a relationship with the victims – which it called “the loverboy method”.
They were later forced to perform in pornographic content under threat of violence, the statement said.
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