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Viral internet personality Andrew Tate has been indicted by a Romanian court on charges of rape, human trafficking, and forming an organized crime ring to sexually exploit women.
Andrew and his brother Tristan Tate were arrested alongside two Romanian women, their alleged co-conspirators, in December 2022, and were released from prison and moved to house arrest in March 2023. Prosecutors allege that the defendants began operating a human trafficking ring in 2021, and lured seven women into the scheme with the so-called “loverboy method,” promising marriage or cohabitation in a loving relationship before forcing the women to produce pornography for their business.
“[The women] were later transported and housed in buildings in Ilfov county [Romania] where, by exercising acts of physical violence and mental coercion (through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts), they were sexually exploited by group members by forcing them to perform demonstrations pornographic in order to produce and disseminate through some social media platforms,” the indictment alleges.
The indictment also alleges that one of the defendants repeatedly raped one of their victims in March 2022.
Tate and his co-defendants have categorically denied the charges.
“The case that has been put against me is completely and utterly fabricated,” Tate said in an interview with the BBC. “ I’m never going to be found guilty of anything.”
Tate is a former kickboxing champion who first gained media notoriety after his appearance on British reality TV series “Big Brother” — Tate was removed from the show after video emerged of him striking a woman before appearing to beat her with a belt. Tate said that the footage depicted consensual roleplay and that he was “still friends” with the woman involved.
Tate later became a prominent social media influencer with millions of followers on various platforms. Tate’s primary claims to fame were his apparently luxurious lifestyle and his controversial beliefs on sex and relationships. Tate has said that women are the property of men, “belong in the home” and bear some responsibility for being sexually assaulted. He has also condemned western society for devaluing traditional masculine roles.
“You can’t slander me because I will state right now that I am absolutely sexist and I’m absolutely a misogynist, and I have f*** you money and you can’t take that away,” Tate said.
Tate was removed from most major social media platforms after a concerted deplatforming campaign in August 2022. His Twitter account was reinstated after Elon Musk acquired the company and he currently has 6.9 million followers.
Tate and his brother are British-Americans with dual citizenship who moved to Romania in 2017, reportedly because of the country’s lax law enforcement. According to the U.S. State Department Romania is the primary center of human trafficking in Europe.
“I’m not a f*** rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want. I like being free,” Tate said, while decrying the #MeToo movement and spurious claims of rape and sexual assault. “In Eastern Europe, none of this garbage flies.”
When Tate was arrested last year, police seized 15 luxury cars, 14 luxury watches, several properties, the equivalent of $100,000 in various currencies and nearly $400 million worth of Bitcoin.
“[I’m] sure this case has absolutely nothing to do with stealing my wealth,” Tate tweeted after the indictment.
A Romanian judge will have 60 days to review the case before it is either thrown out on procedural grounds or brought to trial. According to the BBC, any trial in this case is expected to take years to resolve.