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Andrew Tate from Big BrotherChannel 5

The controversial British-American online influencer Andrew Tate has been detained in Romania as a part of a human trafficking and rape investigation.

The self-proclaimed “misogynist” rose to fame after he was removed from the British reality TV show Big Brother in 2016 over a video that appeared to show him attacking a woman. He said at the time that the footage had been edited and was “a total lie trying to make me look bad”.

Now, the 36-year-old former kickboxer boasts over 3.5 million followers on Twitter.

Videos about Mr Tate are popular online. On TikTok, videos with the #AndrewTate hashtag have been viewed more than 12.7 billion times. But that figure also includes videos made by people criticising the influencer.

In an interview with another YouTuber, he said he was “absolutely a misogynist”, and 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.”

In that same video, he described women as “intrinsically lazy” and said there was “no such thing as an independent female”.

Numerous social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, have banned him – with the latter saying that “misogyny is a hateful ideology that is not tolerated”.

Mr Tate was banned from Twitter for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. He has since been reinstated.

Andrew Tate and Tristan Tate are escorted by police officers outside the headquarters of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism in Bucharest (DIICOT)

Reuters

As for his career, Mr Tate has described himself as a “self-made multimillionaire” and said he earned money through “a little webcam business from my apartment”.

“I had 75 women working for me in four locations and I was doing $600,000 a month from webcam,” he said in a podcast interview.

In a now-deleted page on his website he said he brought women into the “adult entertainment industry”.

“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,” he wrote on the page – which was subsequently taken down in February 2022.

Tate works alongside his brother, Tristan, who told The Daily Mirror that their business was “all a big scam” which saw men pay to talk to women online.

“I’ve seen men sell cars, TVs… This guy’s gran passed away and they were waiting for the sale of the house. When the house was sold he’d get £20,000 and promised it to [a model], to pay for her fake financial problem,” Tristan told The Mirror.

Tristan was also arrested alongside Mr Tate at his home in a suburb of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on Thursday evening.

A spokesperson for Mr Tate told the Daily Mirror that they could not provide any details regarding the human trafficking and rape allegations. But he said: “Andrew and Tristan Tate have the utmost respect for the Romanian authorities and will always assist and help in any way they can.”

Earlier this week, Mr Tate was engaged in a row with environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter. He claimed to have 33 cars and said he would send her a list of their “respective enormous emissions”.

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Analysis

By Marianna Spring, disinformation and social media correspondent

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year on social media for Andrew Tate. His notoriety snowballed after teenagers started spotting videos of him, some promoting misogyny and targeting women, all over their social media feeds back in the summer.

Seemingly in favour with social media algorithms, clips of Mr Tate on sites like TikTok accumulated millions of views – and raised big questions about what social media sites were pushing young users.

It was in August that these concerns over hate speech led to the banning of Mr Tate’s accounts on major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, where he had racked up millions of views and followers.

After Elon Musk bought Twitter in the autumn, Mr Tate was welcomed back to the site that he was banned from back in 2017, when he made remarks about women “bearing responsibility for being sexually assaulted”. Since his return, he has again begun racking up hundreds of thousands of likes on Twitter, with his current follower tally at over 3 million.

In recent days, he had been trolling climate activist Greta Thunberg – who was not shy herself about making a joke or two about him in return. That led to a wave of hate targeting the 19-year-old, and several posts shared on Mr Tate’s Twitter hinting at conspiracy theories about “globalist elites”.

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Source: BBC

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