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Andrew Tate's arrest for alleged rape and human trafficking explained

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Misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate, who once said he moved to Romania from the UK because “the rape laws are more lenient there,” was arrested by Romanian authorities on Dec. 29 on charges of rape and human trafficking.

The country’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, or DIICOT, said Tate and his brother Tristan are suspected of having recruited victims for an online pornography criminal scheme. In a translated press release, authorities said the Tates recruited victims by making them believe they were interested in genuine relationships, then transported them to live in homes where they were under constant surveillance and forced to act in pornographic videos under threats of violence. The videos would then be sold online.

Tate has already proudly admitted to some version of this: the self-proclaimed “king of toxic masculinity” told the Daily Mirror that he and his brother once operated a “full scam” business, in which 75 women were paid to talk to men for $4 a month. minute, and where the Tates would pocket most of the money. This type of behavior is central to Tate’s personal brand, that of the “straight talker” drug dealer who films himself next to exotic sports cars and scantily clad models, wearing bathrobes and smoking cigars, implying that following his advice , you too can live such a lifestyle.

While Tate has been courting fame for years, his videos started gaining traction in the mainstream last year, when clips of his furious diatribes and dubious business advice went viral on TikTok. Much of the discourse around it concerns panic about the well-being of boys and young people; during this time, elementary and middle school teachers reported seeing a huge increase in sexual harassment and sexist hate speech in their classrooms by their male students. In response, all major social media platforms banned his accounts, although under Elon Musk’s ownership, Twitter reinstated his account in November. (It had been removed since 2017, when Tate tweeted after the Harvey Weinstein allegations: “If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you should find out. [sic] some responsibility.”)

The daring of her ruthlessness and expensive-but-trash aesthetic made Tate the face of several unfortunate stereotypes in contemporary internet culture: the anti-feminist capitalizing on the Me Too backlash, the angry guy with a podcast microphone, and the corporate shilling guy. adjacent to fraudulent pyramid scheme. It also makes him extremely easy to mock, which he did when, on Dec. 27, he tweeted at climate activist Greta Thunberg in an attempt to brag about how terrible his sports cars are for the environment. “Please provide your email address so I can send you a complete list of my car collection and their massive emissions,” to which Thunberg responded, “yes, please enlighten me. email me at” (It is now the fourth most liked tweet of all time.)

That this exchange took place just two days before his arrest is pure coincidence, though conspiracies abounded afterwards: Tate responded to Thunberg with a video of himself standing next to a box of pizza, and people guessed that since the location of the pizzeria was visible, it was a clue to his whereabouts. Romanian authorities have denied this was the case and have been investigating their properties since April 2022, although Thunberg jokingly referenced the rumors in a tweet that read, “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”

In a video of his arrest, Tate can be heard saying, “The Matrix attacked me.” As those familiar with the “manosphere” or QAnon will know, the science fiction movie’s “red pill” concept has become synonymous with a right-wing, neo-reactionary set of beliefs: that feminism has gone too far, that “wokeism” is a serious moral threat to personal freedom, and that democracy and key democratic institutions are inherently suspect (which is ironic, considering the filmmakers’ intentions).

DIICOT has so far identified six victims who it says were sexually exploited by Tate’s group; did not specify which suspect was charged with rape. Tate, along with his brother, is being held in jail for 30 days and has yet to be released despite false reports on TikTok.

Prison once again brought Andrew Tate’s name into the public discourse, and with it the question of how to deal with the boys and young men who bought into his rhetoric. tweeted the popular leftist streamer vaush, “I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand that twelve-year-old white boys on twitch aren’t being lured into fascism because of some Machiavellian desire to preserve and expand their privileges, it’s because the right talks to them and the left no t.” It’s not clear, however, what a “Left Andrew Tate for teen boys” would look like (anyone willing to embrace casual sexism? There are plenty already!), or whether mainstream or left-wing culture really ignores teen boys, who continue to be one of the top demographics for movies, music, TV, and video games.

Instead, experts recommend that concerned parents or supervisors talk with children about what they know about Tate and what they think of him. “It’s good for parents to remind kids that this might be funny to them, but it can actually have a negative impact on people because it’s threatening, it’s scary, it’s disturbing,” a clinical psychologist and cybersecurity instructor told ABC Radio. Australia. “What you can teach that kid is how to build his own confidence and security without necessarily embodying these really toxic traits, because there’s a difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity.”

There will always be creepy, charismatic reactionaries ready to exploit algorithms that reward anger and prey on young people, children who are still figuring out how the world works and their place in it. Tate is not a singular genius, and we should refrain from treating him as such. The important thing is that when people come across content like his – however flashy and controversial – they can see right through the bullshit.