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'King Of Toxic Masculinity' Andrew Tate, Brother Detained In Romania For Alleged Sex Trafficking
British social media influencer Andrew Tate and his brother, Tristan Tate, have been taken into custody by Romanian authorities over allegations that they were running a sex trafficking ring.
A British-American social media influencer is part of a group of people currently detained in Romania over allegations that they were part of an organized crime group that engaged in sex trafficking
Andrew Tate, his brother, Tristan Tate, and two unnamed Romanians were taken into custody and ordered held for 24 hours by the Romanian Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) on Thursday, the organization said in a press release.
Though the brothers weren't explicitly named in the release, a legal representative for the pair confirmed to NBC News that they were in custody and declined to comment further.
Romanian prosecutors asked a court in Bucharest on Friday to extend the suspects' detention for 30 days, Sky News reported.
The Tate brothers and the two Romanians were taken into custody when DIICOT investigators and officers from the Bucharest Police organized crime unit served five search warrants on properties in Ilfov County — a ring of suburbs around Bucharest — where Tate is known to maintain a residence and work. Video released by DIICOT from one of the raids shows police in a number of locations previously featured in Tate's videos and social media posts, the Daily Mail reported. The video also features a number of weapons found on the property — including two handguns, a sword, several knives and brass knuckles — what appears to be an extensive video surveillance system showing multiple rooms in the home and stacks of currency.
The outlet also reported that one of the Romanians detained was a former police officer, and said her property was one of the places where a search warrant was served.
Officials with DIICOT allege that the four were part of an organized political group for the purpose of sex trafficking in Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Tate brothers allegedly recruited female victims by "misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love." They then brought at least six victims to Romania, "where, by exercising acts of physical violence and mental coercion (through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts)" the four sexually exploited the victims by "by forcing them to perform pornographic demonstrations" and other "forced labor" they then disseminated on social media and to users for money, according to DIICOT.
In addition, investigators allege that one of the suspects raped one victim twice in March 2022 by using "physical violence and psychological pressure."
Tate's property was previously searched in April as part of a sex trafficking investigation, and the brothers were detained and questioned for several hours before being released, the New York Post reported. The U.S. State Department confirmed to the Daily Beast at the time that an American woman had reported being held against her will in Tate's residence. A local newspaper reported that an American woman and a Romanian woman were both found at the villa, though Tate denied they were there against their will.
Andrew Tate, who claims the moniker "The King of Toxic Masculinity," and Tristan Tate reportedly operate a web cam site from the compound, where they charge users $4 a minute to speak to models, who are then encouraged to tell sob stories for bigger tips, according to a profile by The Mirror in which the brothers participated in March.
Andrew Tate, whose prior claim to fame was being kicked off the U.K. version of "Big Brother" in 2016 for allegedly beating a female contestant with a belt, is currently a conservative influencer who peddles get-rich-quick classes and markets himself as a lifestyle guru for young men. He elevated his profile by repeatedly promoting a retrograde version of gender relations, claiming that all men should dominate all women in all aspects of society and their social lives. He was recently removed from Instagram, cannot have a TikTok account and only recently returned to Twitter after its CEO, Elon Musk, restored his account, which had been suspended for five years. He and other men host a videotaped podcast, allegedly from the Romanian villa which was raided on Thursday.
He repeatedly refers to the world as "the matrix," though it's unclear whether he actually believes people are living in a computer-generated simulation of the modern world or whether it's a metaphor. In a Romanian news video of his detention, which shows him in handcuffs, he says, "The Matrix has attacked me," as reported by Sky News.