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Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxing world champion turned social media influencer, has been released from house arrest in Romania after mounting a successful appeal as he awaits trial on human trafficking charges.
The Bucharest Court of Appeals said in a written ruling that it would be replacing its earlier “house arrest measure with that of judicial control for a period of 60 days from August 4 until October 2”, a lighter restriction that will nevertheless require him to seek permission before leaving the municipality.
The influencer, his brother Tristan Tate and two Romanian women were arrested in December 2022 and charged in June with rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, with seven women alleged to have been targeted. The quartet deny the charges.
Mr Tate has amassed millions of followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok over the past decade.
But he has also seen his accounts banned over inflammatory statements he has made, often appearing to advocate violence against women, which the platforms ruled violated their policies.
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Frequently accused of embodying toxic masculinity and misogyny, having claimed that women cannot drive, belong in the home and are a man’s property, Mr Tate has made inconsistent statements on the subject.
He told the Anything Goes with James English podcast in June 2021 that he was “absolutely sexist” and “absolutely a misogynist”, only to then claim on Piers Morgan Uncensored more recently that he was “absolutely not”.
He has also claimed that his remarks, viewed by millions online, are made in the persona of a “comic character” and have been unfairly taken out of context.
“I play an online character and am brash and bravado but my views are pure and simply say to find the highest value men and women you can with good hearts,” he told The Independent in response to criticism from the domestic violence organisation White Ribbon.
Mr Tate has also made claims about the extent of his personal wealth and his online popularity that have not been substantiated.
But he has found an eager audience online for his messages of male empowerment, with teachers increasingly coming forward to express concern about his potentially radicalising influence on impressionable teenage boys, fearing they could take the wrong lessons from pronouncements like the “41 Tenets” on his website.
“I believe that men have the divine imperative to become as capable, powerful, and competent as possible in this life,” states the first.
Here is a brief introduction to the life and times of Andrew Tate.
Emory Andrew Tate III was born in Washington, DC, on 1 December to Emory Tate Jr, a sergeant of the US Air Force and a chess International Master, and his English wife Eileen, a catering assistant.
Initially raising their children in Chicago, Illinois, the couple divorced in 1997, at which point Eileen Tate relocates to a council estate in Luton, Bedfordshire, with her young family, where she reportedly still lives.
Tate has described his mother as “my hero” but says they were “broke as a joke” during his childhood.
Of his father, he told The Times last September he would be away from home for extended periods while serving but would say to his son upon returning: “Look, your mother has to do the day-to-day stuff. I’m a man. I have to make sure you’re protected.”
The young Andrew Tate starts boxing and martial arts training while reportedly also working as a TV producer.
Earns his first kickboxing championship when he wins the British ISKA Full Contact Cruiserweight Championship in Derby, going by the name King Cobra.
Wins his first ISKA world title by beating Jean-Luc Benoit via knockout.
As his celebrity begins to grow, Tate joins Twitter, initially as @Cobratate.
Tate and his brother Tristan begin their first adult webcam business employing lingerie-clad models to engage in chat sessions with men.
In a later interview with The Mirror in March 2022, the brothers joke that their webcam ventures, which charge customers $4 (£3.30) an hour, are “a total scam” because the models featured often tell lonely male callers “fake sob stories” to elicit sympathy and earn larger tips.
Tristan Tate tells the newspaper the brothers are protected by two lines in their terms and conditions: “One is broadcasting is ‘for entertainment purposes only’. That means if a model says she has a sick dog or a sick grandma it doesn’t have to be true.
“The next is that all cash given to models is ‘a voluntary sign of gratitude for their time broadcasting’.”
Wins his second ISKA world title in a 12-round match against Vincent Petitjean.
Invited onto the 17th season of the reality TV show Big Brother, Tate quickly attracts scrutiny over his track record of controversial statements. He is removed from the house after just six days when a video surfaces showing him hitting a woman with a belt.
In a statement, both he and the woman featured in the clip say they are friends and that the actions depicted were consensual.
Moves to Bucharest, Romania, with Tristan, setting up home in a heavily-fortified suburban compound and claiming the UK has “gone downhill”.
He said the prospect of avoiding rape charges more easily was “probably 40 per cent of the reason” for moving to Central Europe, adding: “I’m not a f***ing rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free.
“If you’re a man living in England or Germany or America or any of the Western world right now you’ve decided to live in a country where any woman … at any point in the future can destroy your life.”
He later tells The Times this was intended as an attack on litigation culture, commenting: “A dying empire adopts laws like a sick man adopts medicine.”
Having already stirred controversy on Twitter by claiming depression “isn’t real”, Tate is permanently suspended from the platform after saying on 18 October that women should “bear some responsibility” for being sexually assaulted, part of a thread commenting on the Harvey Weinstein affair.
“I don’t agree with being banned, people get banned from Twitter all the time and make new profiles,” he said subsequently.
“I’m not inciting violence, promoting terrorism or harassing anyone. This is censorship of free speech. I’ve never had specific tweets banned or been cautioned.”
The controversy boosts his profile among far-right conservatives, bringing him into the company of Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson and Donald Trump Jr in America and Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson in the UK
Having continued to build his following on social media and in right-wing media, a campaign to de-platform Tate resulted in his being banned from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
In a “final” video, Tate claims that many of the criticisms levied at him are based on clips that have been misrepresented.
“I have some responsibility to bear. I still blame myself, because my rise has been so meteoric and I became so famous so quickly,” he said.
“My responsibility is that any negative connotations in my videos are removed. The way you say things in a video that gets 500 views is very different from the way you say things in a video that gets 50 million views – the more people you reach, the more important it is that people don’t take things out of context.
“If there was as many people cutting up videos like they did mine and those people had a negative agenda, they could make Mickey Mouse look evil, you could make anyone look bad.”
His message is dismissed by Hope Not Hate’s research director, Joe Mulhall, who tells The Independent the clip attempts “to completely rewrite his behaviour, justify the unjustifiable, and … takes no responsibility”.
That same month, financial services company Stripe pulls out of processing subscriptions for Hustler’s University, another Tate business billed as an online “academy” where members pay a monthly membership fee in exchange for advice on how to make a passive income from online industries such as cryptocurrency.
The venture reportedly has around 100,000 paying subscribers who are charged around $49 (£40) per month but Stripe’s decision prompts it to shut its affiliate marketing programme, which had encouraged the spread of Tate videos across social networks.
After a video of Tate praying at a mosque in Dubai with MMA fighter Tam Khan goes viral, he announces he has converted to Islam in a post on Gettr.
Tate is reinstated on Twitter by new owner Elon Musk, along with other previously banned right-wing figures including Donald Trump, Kanye West and Jordan Peterson.
28 December 2022
Shortly after Christmas, Tate posts his now-infamous tweet to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, boasting about his Bugatti and Ferraris and asking for her email address so he can “send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions”.
“Yes, please do enlighten me,” she responded. “Email me at email@example.com.”
The internet duly erupts, prompting Tate to respond initially rather weakly by asking “How dare you?!”. He then returned with a video of himself sporting a dressing gown and smoking a cigar claiming to believe the joke has backfired on Thunberg and accusing the “global matrix” of deploying a “bot farm” to send her tweet viral.
A day later, Tate and his brother are detained in Romania for 30 days, along with two women, on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group. Prosecutors say they have found six women who claim to have been sexually exploited by the suspects for the purpose of creating internet pornography.
An investigation has reportedly been underway since April.
As excitable social media rumours suggest that a Jerry’s Pizza box featured in Tate’s video inadvertently revealed his location to the authorities, Thunberg tweets about him again, declaring: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”
3 January 2023
Tate’s valuable luxury car collection is seized by the Romanian authorities.
One of the two Tate brothers is allegedly hospitalised after a medical check-up in jail, according to Antena 3, a CNN-partnered Romania news site.
A cryptic tweet follows from Tate’s account, although it is unclear if he wrote it himself, which states: “The Matrix has attacked me. But they misunderstand, you cannot kill an idea. Hard to Kill.”
Tate appears in court in Bucharest to appeal his detention, arriving wearing handcuffs and bearing a copy of the Quran.
His lawyers insist there is “no evidence” against him but the judge rules against him.
Tate wins an appeal to replace his detention with house arrest after the Bucharest Court of Appeal rules against a judge’s decision to extend his incarceration for a fourth time for another 30 days.
Andrew and Tristan Tate formally charged with human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.
The pair are accused, along with the two Romanian women, of tricking seven alleged victims with false declarations of love and transporting them to take part in pornography. The women were allegedly controlled by “intimidation, constant surveillance” and claims they were in debt, the prosecution says.
The Tates launch a $5m lawsuit against a Florida woman whom they claim falsely accused them of imprisoning her in Romania, leading to their arrest there on human trafficking charges.
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Andrew Tate’s appeal against house arrest succeeds. Speaking to reporters outside court two days earlier, the influencer had promised: “The truth will be known very soon.”