Greta Thunberg has said her Twitter spat with social media influencer Andrew Tate led to her arrest.
Romanian authorities said Tate, 36, a former professional kickboxer, used the “loverboy” trafficking method, which involves a man luring a victim into a relationship to sexually exploit her later.
He was arrested on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming an organized crime group.
Earlier this week, the Brit was embroiled in a row with Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, on Twitter after he told her he owned 33 cars with “huge emissions”.
Thunberg joked that Tate had “a little d— energy” before posting a video in response of her posing next to a box of Romanian pizza.
After his arrest, there were claims, which have not been substantiated, that the pizza box led authorities to find his location.
Responding to his arrest this morning, Thunberg wrote:
Tate, who has been banned from many social media platforms for misogynistic comments and hate speech, was arrested on Thursday at his Bucharest home along with his brother Tristan.
They will be detained for 24 hours along with two Romanian suspects, prosecutors from the anti-organized crime unit said in a statement after raiding their properties in Bucharest.
The Tate brothers have been under investigation since April. They declined to comment but their lawyer confirmed they had been arrested.
Prosecutors say they found six women the suspects had sexually exploited.
“The four suspects … appear to have created an organized criminal group with the aim of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content intended to be viewed on specialized paid websites,” prosecutors said.
“They would have earned significant sums of money.”
“Guns, Knives and Money”
Romania’s Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) previously released a statement, but did not name the Tate brothers, saying two British nationals and two Romanian nationals were suspected of being part of a trafficking criminal group of human beings.
He also posted a video of the raid, which shows guns, knives and money on display in a room.
According to the organization, six people have been identified injured in connection with the investigation, one of whom was allegedly sexually assaulted in March.
Some of the suspects allegedly used the “loverboy” trafficking method, in which a man lures a victim into a relationship to later exploit her sexually, DIICOT said.
Mr. Tate rose to fame when he appeared on the reality show Big Brother in 2016, however, he was removed from the schedule after a video surfaced online that appeared to show him attacking a woman with a belt – a clip he claimed had been edited.
“Absolutely a misogynist”
He has since gained further notoriety online for a series of comments about women, including the suggestion that they “bear some responsibility” for being attacked, an incident for which he was banned from Twitter.
Videos of Mr Tate have gone viral on social media, including one in which he was interviewed by a YouTuber in which he said he was “absolutely a misogynist”, adding: “I’m a realist and when you’re a realist ‘you’re sexist. There is no way to be grounded in reality and not be sexist.
She also stated in the same video that women are “inherently lazy” and that “there was no such thing as an independent woman”.
In another video, Mr Tate said: ‘If I have responsibility over her, then I must have some degree of authority.’
“You can’t be responsible for a dog if it doesn’t obey you,” she added.
In response to his ban on Facebook and Instagram, Mr Tate said in 2019: ‘It’s really a shame that my old videos, in which I played a comedic character, have been taken out of context and magnified to the point where people believe a absolutely false narratives about me.
“In the last two weeks, I have dedicated over a million dollars to charities supporting women. I posted it on instagram, but instagram ignored it.
“I have made videos explaining that my mother is my hero and how men should protect and provide for women. Instagram ignored it.
“Internet sensationalism has demanded the idea that I am anti-women when nothing could be further from the truth. This is just plain hate mobs who aren’t interested in the facts of the matter trying to attack me personally.
He added that it was a “huge shame” that Instagram “bowed to pressure” and blocked him, saying his account would be a “beacon of light, teaching people of all genders and races how to respect each other for the years to come”. .
She continued, “Banning myself only inspires more Internet hate mobs and more division … I’m genuinely innocent.”