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Andrew Tate, ‘King of Toxic Masculinity,’ faces 3 legal cases in 2 countries

andrew-tate,-‘king-of-toxic-masculinity,’-faces-3-legal-cases-in-2-countries

Andrew Tate, ‘King of Toxic Masculinity,’ faces 3 legal cases in 2 countries

DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images

(LONDON) — He claims to be the pinnacle of masculinity. Andrew Tate — “Top G.”

The former kickboxer in the last four years has flooded social media, taking over newsfeeds, in particular those of young men, preaching views that have brought him the title of the so-called “King of Toxic Masculinity. He revels in controversy, claiming men “own” women in relationships and that women’s empowerment is leading to the fall of Western civilization.

“Humanity cannot survive with female empowerment,” he has said.

“The only happy relationship that can possibly exist is with a man leading and a man in charge. Any other relationship is always misery,” he has also said.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, Tate has built up an enormous following online, despite being banned in 2022 from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok for violating their “hate speech” rules. For millions of men, and especially teenage boys, he has become an idol. In the United States, some far right conservatives — such as Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens — have given him a platform to talk about himself as a champion for traditional views on men in the culture war raging over gender.

But Tate is now facing three legal cases in two countries, all based around allegations of abusing women.

In Romania, where Tate has made his home for several years, he and his younger brother, Tristan, are awaiting trial on human trafficking and organized crime charges, accused of exploiting seven women. Andrew is also charged with rape. The Tate brothers are also facing possible criminal charges in the U.K., where police have issued arrest warrants on allegations of human trafficking and sexual assault. Four different British women have also served Andrew Tate with a civil lawsuit in the UK on allegations of sexual assault.

At the heart of the legal battles, the question: Is the so-called “King of Toxic Masculinity” guilty of abusing women.

The Tates have denied all the allegations against them in both countries, arguing he is the victim of opportunistic women and what he dubs the “Matrix,” a supposed establishment conspiracy that he claims is targeting him because of his controversial views.

For more than a year, ImpactxNightline has reported on Tate, investigating the allegations against him and exploring the broader so-called “Manosphere” he is part of, hearing accounts from some of the women who accuse him of abuse and speaking with a former employee of his War Room organization, trying to understand his appeal to young men, as well as what it says about the discussion around masculinity.

Allegations against the Tates in Romania

Andrew and Tristan Tate live in a compound on the outskirts of Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The compound, that from outside looks like a warehouse with steel shutters and bristles with cameras, is located on a dusty backroad out by the airport, sitting opposite a rundown apartment block.

In December 2022, heavily armed officers from Romania’s organized crime police stormed the compound. The Tates were arrested on charges of human trafficking and forming an organized criminal group. Andrew was charged with rape. For nearly three months, the brothers were held in a Bucharest jail, until a court changed their detention to house arrest at the compound. Last August, a court eased the restrictions again, permitting the Tates to travel within Romania but not to leave the country, while they await trial.

The Tates have denied the Romanian charges and challenged evidence in the case. In late April, the Bucharest Tribunal ruled a trial should proceed, though a date has yet to be set as the Tates are again appealing that decision.

Romanian prosecutors have charged the Tates, along with two female defendants, of sexually exploiting seven women as models for an erotic webcam business. The prosecution alleges the Tates recruited the women under false pretenses by pretending they were in love with them, and then coercing them through a mixture of intimidation and emotional manipulation into working while the Tates and their associates took most of the earnings.

Central to the case are allegations involving three women — one American, one Moldovan and one British — whom the Tates are accused of luring to Romania and exploiting them on webcam. Prosecutors also allege the Tates recruited four women inside Romania also by deceiving them into believing they were in a relationship.

The Tates have denied the Romanian charges, insisting the women all chose to work for them willingly and that the prosecutors’ allegations are based on lies.

“They’ve told the whole world I’m a human trafficker. You’re expecting to see dungeons, and chains, and girls who are crying,” Tristan Tate told ABC News following a court hearing last May. “Like, you’ll laugh. I’d cry if I didn’t laugh about this, literally.”

Prosecutors accuse the Tates of employing a human trafficking tactic that recruits women through deception, rather than crude violence, and that anti-trafficking experts say is well-known in Romania. The tactic is commonly called the “Lover Boy Method.”

“This is a method that is very subversive because it plays with the minds and the hearts of young girls or young women,” Madalina Turza, who until last year oversaw Romania’s national anti-trafficking strategy, told ABC News in April. She now heads the Romanian office of the anti-slavery charity Justice and Care.

Traffickers will target a woman by pretending to be in love with her, according to Turza. They convince the victim they are in a real relationship, persuading them to move away from family and friends, often abroad. Then the exploitation begins, with the trafficker pressuring the victim into various forms of forced labor, often sex work.

Rares Stan, who until April was the lead prosecutor in the Tates’ case, is known in Romania for prosecuting some of the country’s most high-profile organized crime cases.

Stan said he had left the Tates’ case after handing it on to trial prosecutors, in order to take on a new position at Romania’s attorney general’s office. Speaking in his first interview with international media on the Tate case, Stan told Impact it was “exactly like any other case of human trafficking.”

Romania has one of the highest number of human trafficking victims per capita in Europe, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2023 Trafficking in Persons report. Stan says he has prosecuted hundreds of trafficking cases.

“The unusual thing about this case was the major public interest,” he said. “Because of the people involved.”

The Tates have denied the allegation that they used the “Lover Boy Method.”

But prosecutors have pointed to the fact that for years Tate sold a course online that several experts in human trafficking say taught tactics that closely resemble it: Tate’s “PhD Program” or “Pimping Hoes Degree,” as he’s called it.

Posted as video tutorials, the program’s stated goal is to teach men how to seduce women and then how to monetize them by moving them into working as webcam models.

Silvia Tabusca, a legal expert in human trafficking and organized crime has studied the “Lover Boy Method” worldwide and has focused recently on the Tates case.

“For me, all the ‘Lover Boy’ trafficking methods are present in his Ph.D. program,’ Tabusca, who is based in Bucharest, told Impact.

Tabusca points to an advertisement for the “PhD” course on Tate’s website now taken down, but that she has archived.

“My job was to meet a girl, go on a few dates, sleep with her, test if she’s quality, get her to fall in love with me to where she’d do anything I say, and then get her on webcam so we could become rich together,” the advertisement reads.

In another video, Tate also refers to the “PhD” course as “my recruitment system” and tells men that it is impossible to have a women work for you without having sex with her.

“You can’t get the girl to work for you if you haven’t f—– her before,” Tate says in the video.

Eugene Vidineac, the Tates’ attorney for the Romanian case, told ABC News, he was not aware of all Andrew’s comments on social media, and that prosecutors need more than public statements as evidence, arguing Tate was playing a character online.

“I don’t know how stupid you can be to commit criminal thefts and to go out in public and to say how you committed the crimes, and not expect yourself to be taken [by] the authorities,” said Vidineac, adding it didn’t make sense since “Andrew Tate is so smart. And we see that he has the ability of communication and he is charming.”

Vidineac also points to two women named in the case, Beatrice and Iasmina, who have said on social media and in an interview with Romanian television that they are not victims.

Prosecutors in the indictment allege the two women are still under the control of the Tates. Several human-trafficking experts also said it is common in “Lover Boy” cases that victims refuse to accept they have been exploited.

“They are so much manipulated by their traffickers that they don’t realize that they are trapped into a slavery chain,” said Turza.

Romanian prosecutors have also included in the 481-page indictment as evidence hundreds of WhatsApp and other messages they say are between the Tates and some of the women.

Among them are dozens of messages said to be between the Moldovan woman and Andrew Tate, that appear to show him first persuading her to move to Romania, saying he wants a serious relationship. In one set of messages, she explicitly says before moving she doesn’t want to do webcam.

“I DON’T WANT TO DO VIDEOCHAT,” she wrote on Feb. 9, 2022, according to the indictment.

Andrew Tate replied, “I do NOT want this / and I will never ask you,” according to the indictment.

In the messages the Tates can also be seen allegedly telling some of the women never to go out of the house unaccompanied.

“I own you,” Tate wrote on March 11, 2022, according to the indictment. “You’ll never be around real men again. you’ll never go out alone again. Never”.

According to the indictment, Andrew Tate is charged with raping the Moldovan woman the same month in a hotel room, where, she alleged to prosecutors, he pressured her into having sexual intercourse with him and two of the other women working for him. Tate is charged with raping the woman a second time later that month.

Another British woman in the case alleges that during sexual intercourse Tate began “choking her until she lost consciousness,” according to the indictment. Prosecutors used the alleged incident as an example of how Tate allegedly established psychological control through intimidation.

A spokesperson for the Tates in a statement this month said Andrew “vehemently denies any involvement in criminal activities such as rape or physical abuse. Andrew Tate remains focused on the legal proceedings in Romania and is collaborating closely with his legal team to assert his innocence.”

Allegations in the United Kingdom

Born in the United States, Andrew and Tristan Tate were raised after their parents’ divorce by their mother in Luton, a small city 30 miles north of London and one of the poorest cities in Britain.

In the years before he would become famous as a controversial male influencer, Andrew Tate’s kickboxing career was successful, but the financial rewards were modest. Back in Luton in the early 2010s, as he has described on numerous podcasts, he decided to set up a webcam business there and would use his girlfriends as models.

Four British women are now alleging Andrew Tate sexually assaulted them during this period. The women are now pursuing a civil lawsuit at the U.K.’s High Court against Tate on the allegations, which he denies.

He is now also facing another separate criminal case in the U.K., after local British police recently issued an arrest warrant for the Tates on allegations of human trafficking and sexual assault.

In March, a Romanian court approved the extradition of the Tates to the U.K., pending the conclusion of the Romanian case.

Tate through a spokesperson denied the allegations in both U.K. cases, accusing the women of lying and of seeking to take advantage of the notoriety brought by the Romanian case.

Two of the women, whom ABC News is calling Helen and Sally, have told Impact they worked as models in the early days of Tate’s U.K. webcam business in 2014. The women requested ABC News not use their real names out of fear they may face harassment from Tate’s fans.

A third woman, who ABC News is calling Amelia, accuses Tate of sexually assaulting her and raping her during a relationship in 2013. Amelia, who also asked not to be named out of fear of retribution from Tate’s fans, filed a complaint with police from Britain’s Hertfordshire County in 2014 after ending the relationship. She said she provided police with voice messages and WhatsApp message she says she received from Tate around the time.

In one of the voice messages, which ABC News has heard, a voice that appears to be Tate can be heard saying: “Are you seriously so offended I strangled you a little bit? You didn’t f—— pass out. Chill the f— out. Jesus Christ. I thought you were cool. What’s wrong with you?”

In another WhatsApp message seen by ABC News, Tate allegedly wrote: “I love raping you. And watching u let me while still debating if its a good idea or not. I like the conflict you have. And you do have it. Don’t deny it.”

The woman replied: “Makes you feel powerful?”

Tate allegedly wrote back: No. I’m already powerful. Its honest. Its real.”

A spokeswoman for Tate declined to comment on the messages. The spokesperson did not comment separately on the women’s allegations, but said Tate denies all of the allegations.

After Amelia filed her complaint, police initially took little action. Then a year later, Helen and Sally separately went to Hertfordshire police and filed a complaint alleging rape and assault.

Following the new complaints, in July 2015, Hertfordshire police arrested Tate in relation to an allegation of assault and rape, according to the police force. He was arrested again in December on suspicion of rape, and was released shortly after.

Hertfordshire police investigated the allegations against Tate for four years, before finally forwarding the case to Britain’s prosecutor’s office, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). But in 2019, the CPS closed the case after determining there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

The women allege that decision was wrong and accuse the police of mishandling the case, saying in interviews that the police failed to initially take the allegations sufficiently seriously.

In May, lawyers for Helen, Sally and Amelia served Tate with the civil lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages from him. They also called for police to reopen the case.

“The evidence that was gathered at the time we say was more than sufficient for a criminal prosecution to have taken place,” Matthew Jury, the lead attorney representing the women, told Impact. “It is baffling to us as to why the decision was made not to prosecute in 2019.”

Asked about the women’s case, Hertfordshire police in a statement said “there were some delays to the investigation. This was addressed at the time and apologies were made.”

“The case was only closed in late 2019 after a case file had been sent to the CPS and the decision was made not to prosecute,” it said.

The CPS in a statement told ABC News: “We understand the devastating impact rape can have on victims. In this case, a specialist prosecutor carefully reviewed all the evidence and concluded there wasn’t a realistic prospect of conviction.”

The CPS noted that it and the police have “changed the way rape cases are handled as part of our commitment to drive up the numbers taken to court and improve victim experiences.” It also noted that the women still have the option to request a review of the decision not to prosecute.

A spokesperson for Tate commenting on the allegations told Impact: “Andrew vehemently denies any involvement in criminal activities such as rape or physical abuse. These accusations are not only baseless but are seen as deliberate attempts to defame his character and provoke unwarranted public outrage through mainstream media channels.”

Since the first three women announced their lawsuit, a fourth British woman has come forward and joined the suit with her own allegations of sexual assault. Evie, who has also requested ABC News not use her real name, said she first met Tate in 2014 at a club in Luton.

She said she went home with Tate and had consensual sex. But Evie said they kept in touch via text message and met up again a couple months later, when Tate came over to her place one night after work. The two started having consensual sex but he then allegedly began strangling her during the act, she said.

“We were having sex and he strangled me until I passed out,” Evie told Impact. “When I came back around, he was still having sex with me while I’d been passed out.”

Evie said she had not given consent to the alleged act. She said Tate also made aggressive comments and threats toward her during and afterward.

“He sort of kept saying things like: ‘I own you. You’re mine,'” she said. “He was quite aggressive and kept on, like, holding me against the wall by the neck.”

Evie said the alleged strangulation caused the blood vessels in one of her eyes to burst, temporarily leaving it bloodshot.

Evie, now 30, said she told others about the alleged incident at the time and again over the years but downplayed it. She said she started to realize how serious it was as she got older and learned more about consent. The people Evie told have since confirmed being told about parts of the incident, with one confirming seeing that her eye was bloodshot afterward.

“I didn’t really have any kind of education on consent and kind of what that looked like,” Evie told ABC News. “It was only, like, years later that I looked back and thought, actually that was rape.”

When asked to comment on Evie’s allegations, a spokesperson for Tate told ABC News, Andrew “vehemently denies these accusations and does not condone violence of any kind towards women. All sexual acts that Andrew has partaken in have been consensual and agreed upon before by both parties.”

“He is saddened that a few opportunistic women who he has allegedly spent time with nearly a decade ago have decided to try and take advantage of his current situation.”

Evie joined the other women’s lawsuit in 2023. She has said she had decided to join now because she wanted “justice.”

“For all the, kinda the crimes that he’s done against women. And also to just teach young men that it’s not okay– and young women as well– that it’s not okay to, like, have these views and to treat women like this,” she said.

Romanian prosecutors in their indictment against the Tates have cited two of the women’s police complaints in the U.K. as relevant background to the current case there.

Amid the allegations, in March this year local police from Bedfordshire County in the U.K. issued arrest warrants for both Andrew and Tristian Tate in a new criminal case on allegations of human trafficking and rape. The Tates have said they deny all the new charges. A Bucharest court approved a U.K. extradition request for the Tates, but only once the Romanian case against them concludes.

A trial is likely to take years to begin in court, but could begin as early as this summer.

“Whatever happens in the Romanian prosecution, he is now going to be extradited from Romania to face prosecution also in the U.K.,” Jury said. “So, the civil case aside, he’s got a long many years ahead of him.”

This story includes reporting from ABC News’ ImpactxNightline special “Andrew Tate – Into the Manosphere,” which is available to stream on Hulu from May 16.

The hour-long special includes interviews with some of the women accusing Tate of sexual assault, as well as with a former employee of Tate’s War Room organization.

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