Why Is Everyone Talking About Andrew Tate's Arrest – And His Greta Thunberg Row?

Here's why both their names – and the country of Romania – are all over Twitter.
Internet personality Andrew Tate and environmentalist Greta Thunberg
Internet personality Andrew Tate and environmentalist Greta Thunberg
Twitter Andrew Tate, @Cobratate/ Getty

Andrew Tate’s name seemed to be everywhere on social media on Friday, even among people who had little idea who he was last week.

Most tweets were about his arrest in Romania, while others mentioned his row with renowned environmentalist Greta Thunberg.

Here’s what you need to know about the surreal turn of events which unfolded this week.

Who is Andrew Tate?

A British citizen who was born in the US, Tate has won world titles for his professional kickboxing career.

In 2016 he was a contestant on British TV show Big Brother, but he had to be removed when a video surfaced of him appearing to attack a woman.

Tate said at the time that the video was edited, and was “a total lie, trying to make me look bad”.

He then built up his presence online, and was banned by Twitter in 2017 after he claimed women should “bear responsibility” when sexually assaulted.

He was subsequently banned by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok too over his misogynistic views, although his supporters continued to post content with his name in the hashtag. Tate also maintained his fanbase by posting his divisive views on other sites instead.

There have been widespread concerns over the impact his online presence may have on younger generations, particularly men. He has described himself as the “king of masculinity”, but denies holding misogynistic views.

Since Elon Musk took over the platform, Tate has returned to Twitter – which is how he came to be involved in one of the most liked tweets of all time.

What does he have to do with Greta Thunberg?

Thunberg, the 19-year-old eco-activist who has a huge online following and has spoken about the climate crisis at international conferences, was pulled into a spat with Tate this week.

It began when he directly tweeted her, mentioning his “33 cars” and the huge amount of emissions their engines release. He also bizarrely asked for her email address so he could send her further details about his environmentally unfriendly lifestyle in an apparent effort to provoke her.

Thunberg replied: “Yes, please do enlighten me. Email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com.”

It reportedly became one of the most popular tweets in history, with more than 3.2 million likes in just two days.

A short while later, Tate replied with a two-minute video, where he berated Thunberg, smoked a cigar in a Versace robe and asked someone off-screen to “please bring me pizza and make sure the boxes are not recycled”.

What’s happened now?

Shortly after that video was released, Tate was detained in Romania for 24 hours along with his brother Tristan. The news agency Reuters said a lawyer for the brothers had confirmed their detention.

The pair – along with two other suspects – were accused of creating “an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialised websites for a cost”, Reuters reported.

In a video of his arrest, Tate can be heard saying: “The matrix has attacked me.”

Tate, who has been living in Romania for five years, has allegedly been under investigation with his brother and two Romanian nationals since April.

Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo then claimed on Twitter: “Romanian authorities needed proof that Andrew Tate was in the country so they reportedly used his social media posts.

“His ridiculous video yesterday featured a pizza from a Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza, confirming he was in the country.”

She also claimed that the Council of Europe through GRETA – the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings – “urged Romania last year to effectively prosecute human trafficking”.

However, the police have simply said that they used social media posts to locate Tate, and he had posted about being back in Romania prior to sharing his video attacking Thunberg.

The environmentalist also appeared to tweet about Tate’s arrest without actually mentioning his name on Friday, writing: ”This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”


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