The backstory: Andrew Tate, a four-time kickboxing world champion turned "male rights" influencer, is known for his controversial opinions on things like male superiority, female submission and wealth. And his outspoken quips got him banned from most social media platforms. Recently, billionaire and free speech enthusiast Elon Musk reinstated a bunch of banned accounts after taking over Twitter, including Tate's.
More recently: Last month, Tate got into a heated tweet-off with Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, with her telling him to "get a life" after he bragged about his many cars and their "enormous emissions." Soon after, Tate made more headlines when he and his brother Tristan were arrested in Romania for human trafficking and rape. Despite the timing, authorities have said the Twitter spat had nothing to do with the arrest – it was just good old detective work. The brothers have been detained for 30 days on charges of forming a gang to sexually exploit women.
The development: Over the weekend, authorities in Romania seized nearly US$4 million worth of the Tates' assets as part of an ongoing investigation. They got their hands on some pretty fancy stuff, too, like 15 luxury vehicles (likely the ones Tate was bragging to Thunberg about), fancy watches and over 10 properties. They also found cash in multiple currencies. Prosecutors told Reuters they were trying to make sure the assets couldn't be sold or hidden.
"They wanted money because I fired them. The police understood after the investigation that I am innocent and the police found messages from the girls' phones where they were talking between themselves and planning to lie about me," said Andrew Tate in court about the alleged victims when denying any wrongdoing via his lawyer.
"The police had no reason to arrest him," said Omais Hilal, who believes the Tate brothers are innocent, to The Guardian. "I want to be muscular and rich like Andrew but that doesn't mean I'm a monster."
"We find out what the kids know [about him] first, and then we would want to facilitate discussion about the impact of echo chambers, the impact of the sense of those views online being endorsed, giving the appearance that they're being endorsed by quite a wide audience - when actually it's the case that they're not - and getting them to understand the credibility of those views," said the deputy head of London's St Dunstan's school, Jonathan Holmes, to the BBC, referring to the influence of Tate's social presence to students.