Modern Wealth Creation

Paula Erizanu

The recent arrest of Andrew Tate in Romania has shown how misogyny makes money. The former kickboxer, Big Brother contestant and social media influencer was detained on 29 December on charges of organised crime, human trafficking and rape. Also arrested were his brother, Tristan, and two Romanian women, Luana Radu and Georgiana Naghel (Radu is a former police officer). Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism started looking into the case in April last year, after the US Embassy was contacted by a friend of an American woman who said she had been abducted by the Tate brothers in Bucharest.

The prosecutors identified five further alleged victims, four Romanian women and one Moldovan. According to the prosecutors, the Tate brothers found the women on social media, showered them with romantic messages and invited them to their home in Bucharest, promising them a serious relationship and a luxury lifestyle. But in a twist the Romanian prosecutors referred to as the ‘loverboy method’, the women ended up being held against their will, accused of owing the multimillionaires money, supervised 24/7 and forced to produce pornography that the men sold online. The prosecutors also say that one of the women made €50,000 a week but didn’t see any of the money: it all went to the Tates. The brothers deny any wrongdoing, claiming that the women kept up to 80 per cent of the gains.

Since the arrest, more women have come forward saying they were approached by Andrew Tate online. Carla Howe, an American former Playboy model, told the Daily Mail that she had considered visiting Tate in Romania but stopped communicating with him last summer after he was banned on Instagram. Daria Gușă, a 19-year-old Romanian, wrote that she and three of her schoolfriends received pick-up messages from the 36-year-old on Instagram three years ago, when they were only 16. Gușă didn’t respond but one of her friends did and Tate then invited her to go for a ride in one of his expensive cars, an offer she rejected.

Among his many sexist statements, Tate has claimed that ‘men find innocence attractive’ and ‘the reason why 18 and 19-year-olds are more attractive than 25-year-olds is because they’ve been through less dick.’ The Romanian tabloid Cancan, which has previously covered the Tate brothers’ relationships with local stars, has opened a telephone line to encourage more people to come forward with information.

Tate’s sudden rise as an influencer on TikTok last summer seems to have involved the use of fake accounts as well as mobilising the 160,000 subscribers to his so-called ‘Hustler University’ to promote his content. The online course promised to teach ‘modern wealth creation’ for a monthly fee of £49. Last summer, according to Tate’s neighbours in Bucharest, a number of young men travelled to the brothers’ villa as part of their get-rich-quick course.

Andrew Tate’s fans seem to admire and envy his image as a successful, fit, self-made man with an extravagant lifestyle involving a private jet, a luxury villa and 33 sportscars (as he bragged to Greta Thunberg days before his arrest), and surrounded by women. If this is the kind of fantasy that many boys aspire to, then the crimes that Tate stands accused of demonstrate, yet again, that sexism is not only a cultural issue but an economic one too.

Tate was banned from Twitter in 2017 but reinstated by Elon Musk last November. On 27 December he posted a tweet asking Thunberg for her email address so he could send her the details of how many cars he had and their carbon emissions (giving ‘toxic masculinity’ a new and even more literal meaning). When she suggested he send his email to, he responded with a video in which he called her a ‘slave of the Matrix’ and took delivery of some pizza boxes he wasn’t going to recycle. A rumour spread that the video led directly to his arrest: the pizza boxes were from a Romanian chain, supposedly alerting the police to the fact that he was in the country. The prosecutors said the story was false.

In a YouTube video that has since been deleted, Tate said that one of the reasons he left the UK for Romania in 2017 was that the Eastern European country was less strict when it came to sexual assault allegations.

According to Filia, a feminist NGO based in Bucharest, one in four Romanian women have been physically or sexually assaulted by their partners or former partners. A poll conducted in 2016 found that 55 per cent of Romanians thought non-consensual sex justified in some circumstances: if alcohol was involved, for example, or ‘provocative clothes’.

Things may have changed since then. In 2019, Alexandra Măceşanu was abducted, raped and murdered. The 15-year-old had managed to call the police after being kidnapped but they didn’t take her seriously and only came to investigate the following day, when they found her charred bones in a barrel in the killer’s garden. He was also found guilty of the murder of 18-year-old Luiza Melencu earlier that year, and received a thirty-year sentence in September.

According to a survey carried out last year, 61 per cent of Romanians, compared to an EU average of 47 per cent, think that tackling the trafficking of women and children should be a priority for the European Parliament. Similarly, 55 per cent of Romanians, rather than the EU average of 47 per cent, say that violence against women is a pressing issue for Brussels to address; and 41 per cent of Romanians, far above the 30 per cent EU average, believe that protecting women and girls who belong to vulnerable groups should be a key concern for the European Parliament.

If Romanian society has become more sensitive to the issue of gender-based violence, the state is still lagging behind in addressing the problem. As Filia points out, the public institutions women can go to in search of safety are severely underfunded. There is a stark contrast between the money extracted by Tate from videocam sex work and the funds available to help abused women.


  • 6 January 2023 at 10:08am
    David Lobina says:
    The stuff about the pizza boxes should really not be repeated yet again - he was arrested at his actual home in Romania, a property that has been raided on various occasions and where he had been arrested before. It wasn't like he was hiding at all.

  • 9 January 2023 at 2:01am
    Higgs Boatswain says:
    It may be déclassé to point this out, but neither of the Tates has yet been convicted of any crime. The offences they are accused of are before the courts. It seems a bit premature to convict them in print merely because they appear to be highly (and indeed performatively) unpleasant.