Controversial influencer and self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate has reportedly been detained in Romania in connection to a human-trafficking investigation.
According to a report from Antena 3, a CNN-affiliated Romanian news channel, Tate, 36, and his brother, Tristan, 34, were detained for 24 hours after authorities raided their luxury villa. The pair are being investigated in the probe of an organized crime group that authorities say exploited women for pornographic videos.
In a press release Thursday, the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) said that officers had carried out five different house raids. The Romanian agency reported that four suspects, two from Britain and two Romanians, are accused of forming the group. Andrew Tate and his brother were born in Chicago, Illinois, but both have British citizenship.
Tate’s arrest was announced a day after an exchange between Tate and 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg went viral on Twitter. Tate, who was only recently reinstated to the platform by Twitter CEO Elon Musk, started the conversation by tweeting at the young activist about his list of luxury cars.
“Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions,” Tate wrote.
“Yes, please do enlighten me,” Thunberg wrote back over a day later. “Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Thunberg’s response blew up on Twitter Wednesday and received praise from several users for her takedown of Tate’s tweet.
On Thursday, Twitter users speculated that authorities may have been aided in Tate’s arrest thanks to a video he filmed in response to Thunberg’s comeback. Tate posted a two-minute video response to his account roughly 10 hours after Thunberg’s tweet, in which the influencer is shown wearing a Versace bathrobe and smoking a cigar.
About one minute into Tate’s monologue, a person off-camera hands him a stack of pizza boxes from the Romanian restaurant, Jerry’s Pizza, which some believe may have helped authorities track down Tate.
“Romanian authorities needed proof that Andrew Tate was in the country so they reportedly used his social media posts,” tweeted civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo, who posted a screenshot of Tate’s video from the day before. “His ridiculous video yesterday featured a pizza from a Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza, confirming he was in the country.”
Other users mocked Tate for being arrested after being “owned” by Thunberg the day before. Star Trek icon and activist George Takei tweeted that Romanian authorities had been able to find Tate “All because Greta Thunberg owned him so hard his little wee-wee fell off.”
“Do I have that right? Please say I have that right,” Takei added.
Associate professor at Pepperdine University, Alicia Jessop, also wrote about Tate’s detainment, tweeting, “Pride comes before the fall. Always.”
“If reports are true that authorities were led to him from an address on a pizza box in one of the videos, that is just … chef’s kiss,” she added.
It is unclear at this time if the pizza box did indeed help lead Romanian authorities to Tate’s location. Newsweek has reached out to DIICOT for more information.
Mikael Thalen, tech reporter for the Daily Dot, wrote on Twitter that “No evidence so far proves Andrew Tate was located due to his tweet showing a Romanian pizza box.”
“A Romanian newspaper merely said police used social media posts to locate Tate,” the journalist said. “Tate had tweeted about being in Romania days before his interaction with Greta.”
Andrew and Tristan Tate were previously questioned by Romanian authorities in April after two young women were found in a villa in Voluntari, Romania, alleging that the brothers held them in the residence by force, authorities said, according to a report from Romanian newspaper Libertatea.
The outlet also reported that one of the women had U.S. citizenship. The Tate siblings were reportedly questioned for five hours by DIICOT over the allegation.
In its release on Thursday, DIICOT said that the British suspects in the group would “recruit” women by “misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love.”
The women would later be transported to residences in Ilfov County, Romania, where “by exercising acts of physical violence and mental coercion … they were sexually exploited by group members by forcing them to perform demonstrations pornographic for the purpose of producing and disseminating through social media platforms material,” read DIICOT’s release.
Andrew Tate first garnered widespread attention in 2016 after being kicked off the U.K.’s version of the TV show Big Brother for a video showing him appearing to hit a woman with a belt. Tate previously said that the action was consensual.
In 2017, Tate was banned from Twitter after writing that some women “must bear some responsibility” if they are raped.