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Controversial influencer Andrew Tate will be extradited to U.K., after Romania trial

British U.S. former professional kickboxer and controversial influencer Andrew Tate (center) and his brother Tristan Tate (back right) speak to journalists after having been released from detention in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday.
Daniel Mihailescu
/
AFP via Getty Images
British U.S. former professional kickboxer and controversial influencer Andrew Tate (center) and his brother Tristan Tate (back right) speak to journalists after having been released from detention in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday.

LONDON — Grainyfootage from Romanian police shows a man dubbed the "king of toxic masculinity" being detained in the dead of night, along with his brother, then hauled into a Bucharest court in handcuffs.

Within hours, a judge there Tuesday approved the extradition of Andrew and Tristan Tate to the United Kingdom, where they face charges of sexual aggression in a case that dates back more than a decade. But the judge said the Tate brothers won't actually be sent to the U.K. until after they face trial in Romania on separate charges of human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal group to sexually exploit women.

Andrew Tate, 37, describes himself as a misogynist. He's a British American social media influencer, businessman and former professional kickboxer who has amassed nearly 9 million followers on X, formerly Twitter. Many of them are schoolboys — something that has sparked concern among educators worldwide.

Several women in different countries have accused Tate of rape, sexual assault, human trafficking — and of bragging about those crimes on social media. Aside from criminal cases in the U.K. and Romania, he also faces a separate civil case in the U.K.

Tate says he's the victim of a conspiracy against men who embrace their masculinity. It's unclear what charges his brother Tristan faces. Both deny any wrongdoing.

How did Andrew Tate get his online following?

Andrew Tate rose to fame after he was removed from the British version of the reality TV show Big Brother in 2016, following the release of a video that appeared to show him attacking a woman. He claims the video was edited and amounts to "a total lie to make me look bad."

Tate has been banned from other social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube, for posts deemed derogatory to women. The former Twitter briefly banned him after he wrote in 2017 that women should bear "some responsibility" for being sexually assaulted. His account has since been reinstated.

He has also written descriptions online of how he might attack women, and has criticized people who seek mental health treatment.

While he does not have a TikTok account himself, videos with the #AndrewTate hashtag have been watchedbillions of times on the video platform, making him one of its most viewed figures. The hashtag also includes some videos by people criticizing him.

What's the Romanian case against him?

Romanian authorities arrested the Tate brothers in December 2022 and later placed them under house arrest in the town of Voluntari, on the outskirts of Bucharest. The brothers are accused of exploiting women via an adult content business, which prosecutors allege operated as a criminal group. Authorities said seized 15 luxury cars, 14 designer watches and cash in several currencies worth a total of nearly $4 million.

Romania's anti-organized crime agency says the Tates and two other defendants subjected their recruits to "acts of physical violence and mental coercion," sexually exploited them and forced them to perform in pornography intended to reap "important financial benefits."

Andrew Tate (center left) and his brother Tristan Tate (center right) arrive at the Court of Appeal in Bucharest, Romania, on Feb. 27, 2023.
Daniel Mihailescu / AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP via Getty Images
Andrew Tate (center left) and his brother Tristan Tate (center right) arrive at the Court of Appeal in Bucharest, Romania, on Feb. 27, 2023.

In that case, the Tate brothers face charges of being part of an organized crime group, human trafficking and rape. They deny everything. In January, Tate won an appeal challenging the seizure of some of his assets.

On Tuesday, the Romanian appeals court judge ruled that only after Romanian proceedings are complete, will the Tate brothers be extradited to the U.K. It is unclear how long that could take.

What are the U.K. cases against him?

In a statement emailed Tuesday to journalists, a local police force north of London, where Tate used to live, said it had obtained a European arrest warrant.

"As part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of rape and human trafficking, Bedfordshire Police has obtained a European Arrest Warrant for two men in their 30s," it read. "We are working with authorities in Romania as part of this investigation." That case dates back to 2012-2015.

Separately, four of Tate's alleged victims in the U.K. have set up a crowdfunding site to cover their legal costs in a civil case they are pursuing against him. They had reported Tate to British authorities for alleged sexual violence, but their claims did not advance to prosecution.

"We filed complaints with the authorities for rape and physical abuse in 2014 and 2015 alongside witness testimony and damning documentary evidence. The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] then decided not to take the matter any further," their website says. "It's our one remaining routes to hold him accountable."

A law firm representing alleged victims in the U.K. civil case, McCue Jury & Partners, says it contacted authorities after spotting a commentary online that suggested Tate may be preparing to flee Romania and any prosecution there.

That's what may have led to the Tates' detention late Monday.

"We are grateful" that authorities took action," the firmsaid Tuesday in a statement.

In response, a spokesperson for Andrew Tate said in a statement quoted by Britain's Press Association: "We unequivocally deny any accusations that Andrew or Tristan Tate intends to abscond from Romania to evade the judicial proceedings."

"Our clients are fully committed to actively participating in the legal process and defending their reputation," it said.

The brothers were released immediately after Tuesday's court appearance. They are required to remain in Romania. Their trial date there has not been released.

After his release, Andrew Tate posted an update on X: "The Matrix is afraid, but I only fear God."

"The Matrix" is a term he has used in the past to describe what he sees as a conspiracy against him.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Fatima Al-Kassab
Lauren Frayer
Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.