Andrew Tate: the ‘king of toxic masculinity’ accused of human trafficking and rape

The controversial internet star is in 30-day pre-trial detention in Romania

Andrew Tate Big Brother
Tate was removed from filming of the 17th series of Big Brother after a video emerged showing him hitting his then girlfriend
(Image credit: Karwai Tang/Getty Images)

Online influencer Andrew Tate is being held in pre-trial detention in Romania following his arrest on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group.

The British-American former reality TV star was arrested along with three other suspects on 29 December and a Bucharest court last week agreed to a police request to extend his detention to 30 days. A statement from Diicot, the Romanian anti-organised crime agency, said investigators had identified an “organised criminal group” who had recruited and sexually exploited at least six women.

According to Diicot, the victims were forced to “perform pornographic acts intended to reap ‘important financial benefits’”. The statement did not name the suspects, but photos “published by Romanian media outlets appeared to show Tate being led away in handcuffs by masked law enforcement officers”, said Associated Press. The self-styled “king of toxic masculinity” has denied all the allegations against him.

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Who is Andrew Tate?

Emory Andrew Tate was born on 1 December 1986 in Washington D.C. to a black American father and a white British mother, and has a younger brother, Tristan. The family lived in Chicago, Illinois, before Tate’s catering assistant mother, Eileen, moved to a council estate in Luton with her children after splitting from their father, Emery, an international chess master.

Tate has said he grew up in poverty, but he “appears to have been eager to make a name for himself” from an early age, said the Daily Express. He “played chess competitively from the age of five, even competing in adult tournaments as a youngster”.

The future internet personality worked as a TV producer in his 20s, but it was through kickboxing that “his star began to rise”, the paper added. Tate won four world championship titles before retiring from the combat sport in 2016.

That same year, he was cast on the 17th series of Channel 5’s Big Brother. He was kicked off the show, however, after a video emerged that showed him “continually whip his ex-girlfriend with a belt before slapping her across the face”, reported The Sun, which obtained the footage.

Tate told the paper that he would “never hit a woman” and that the tape was a consensual “kinky sex video”.

More controversy followed, when a spotlight was shone on Twitter posts by Tate containing homophobic and racial slurs. The following year, he was criticised by mental health charities for claiming that depression ‘isn’t real’” and that women should “bear responsibility” for being raped.

Tate moved to Romania five years ago, allegedly to avoid police interference. He “claims he doesn’t live in the UK because he can’t legally have bodyguards that carry guns”, according to the Daily Mail.

Tate’s many controversial statements have got him banned from social media platforms including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, yet he also has many fans. TikTok videos with the hashtag #AndrewTate have been viewed billions of times, amid claims that the content has the potential to radicalise men to commit violence against women.

In one YouTube video, Tate describes himself as “absolutely a misogynist”, adding: “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.”

In 2021, Tate founded Hustlers University 2.0 – an online course for users who pay £39 a month to access video lessons “purportedly teaching money-making methods like investing in cryptocurrency, offering copywriting services to businesses, and setting up your own e-commerce and Amazon stores”, reported BuzzFeed.

An investigation by the website last year found that “sprinkled in with the business advice” was “the same anti-LGBTQ and anti-women rhetoric that Tate has become known for”. The course has reportedly attracted tens of thousands of students, “predominantly men, some who say they’re as young as 13 years old”.

What triggered his arrest?

Tate’s critics were further anger when his Twitter profile was reinstated after Elon Musk bought the social media platform in October. On 27 December – two days before Tate was arrested – he posted a tweet asking climate activist Greta Thunberg to “please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions”.

In a response has since been liked almost four million times, Thunberg wrote: “yes, please do enlighten me. email me at”

Tate then replied with a mocking video filmed at his Bucharest home in which a takeaway pizza box from a Romanian chain could be seen. Social media commentators have speculated that the pizza box triggered his arrest by confirming to authorities that he was in the Eastern European country – a claim denied by law enforcement agencies.

Following Tate’s detention, Thunberg tweeted: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”

Tate was detained along with three other suspects who have since been identified as his brother, Tristan, and two Romanian women – former police officer Luana Radu and Tate’s girlfriend, Georgiana Naghel.

The Guardian reported that the brothers had been “under criminal investigation in Romania since April”, when their Bucharest mansion was raided after the US embassy received a tip-off alleging an American woman was being “held there against her will”. Both brothers were questioned at the time but were then released.

Following their arrests last month, the Tates’s lawyer told the BBC that his clients “reject all the allegations” and would appeal against their detention.

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Kate Samuelson is the newsletter editor, global. She is also a regular guest on award-winning podcast The Week Unwrapped, where she often brings stories with a women’s rights angle. Kate’s career as a journalist began on the MailOnline graduate training scheme, which involved stints as a reporter at the South West News Service’s office in Cambridge and the Liverpool Echo. She moved from MailOnline to Time magazine’s satellite office in London, where she covered current affairs and culture for both the print mag and website. Before joining The Week, Kate worked as the senior stories and content gathering specialist at the global women’s charity ActionAid UK, where she led the planning and delivery of all content gathering trips, from Bangladesh to Brazil. She is passionate about women’s rights and using her skills as a journalist to highlight underrepresented communities.

Alongside her staff roles, Kate has written for various magazines and newspapers including Stylist,, The Guardian and the i news site. She is also the founder and editor of Cheapskate London, an award-winning weekly newsletter that curates the best free events with the aim of making the capital more accessible.