British social media influencer Andrew Tate was detained in Romania on Friday in a human trafficking and rape investigation, a day after he had a war of words on Twitter with climate activist Greta Thunberg, reported the BBC.
The former kickboxer’s house was raided in Bucharest on Friday, following which he and his brother Tristan Tate were detained. The Tates have been under criminal investigation since April for being part of an organised crime group.
Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said that the two brothers and two Romanian citizens were suspected of being part of a criminal group involved in human trafficking, reported the BBC.
“The four 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,” prosecutors said, reported Reuters. “They would have gained important sums of money.”
On December 27, the former kickboxer had asked Thunberg on Twitter to send him her email address so that he could send a complete list of his luxury cars and their “enormous emissions.” Andrew Tate had responded to Thunberg’s tweet in a video on Thursday where he trolled the teenager by questioning her gender.
Tate has emerged as a self-help guru on the internet for a largely male-dominated audience where he promotes toxic masculinity. He had first come into the spotlight in 2016, after being evicted from the British reality show Big Brother for hitting a woman with a belt.
In his videos, he often talks about violence against women, and how men can control them. Domestic abuse charities have said that Andrew Tate’s videos are capable of radicalising most of his audience members consisting of young men and boys, reported The Guardian.
He was banned from Twitter in 2017 after he had shared his opinion on #MeToo movement saying that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. However, following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform, his Twitter account was restored.
Tate continues to be banned from social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook Instagram, and TikTok for his misogynistic comments. He however runs a private online academy Hustler’s University where he offers an online course for aspiring “alpha males” on cryptocurrency, stock investing and freelancing, reported CNET.