ndrew Tate had a plan. It was late January, and he sat in a stark jail cell in a bland, four-story police structure in Bucharest, Romania. He’d been there since Dec. 29, detained on suspicion of organized crime, rape, and human trafficking. Andrew and his brother, Tristan, were escorted there handcuffed by Romanian officers after a raid on their home months earlier.
A few hours after Tate was arrested, there was a new tweet from his official account: “The Matrix sent their agents,” he wrote.
Tate has continued to send messages to his more than 5 million followers the entire time he’s been in custody. In a newsletter, he posted about the “cockroaches, lice, and bed bugs” who are his “only friends at night.” He’s tweeted about being subject to as much persecution as Princess Diana, about trying to fly as a means of attempting to achieve the impossible, about growing a long beard and a full head of hair in detainment (this latter post was subject to mockery from Tate’s detractors, who pointed out the half-moon of thin hair on his scalp in recent courthouse photos). A last gasp to try to steer the public conversation. But as the image Tate has spent the past decade carefully crafting began to show cracks — his disturbing misogyny morphed into heinous criminal accusations — his own loud social media presence wasn’t enough to make him a free man.
So, a new plan.
On Jan. 28, he called his assistant, who patched him into a call with another associate. Tate needed supporters — women — backing him up, too. He needed girlfriends and female employees to talk about what a great guy he was and how he and his brother, who was also being held, were innocent.
“The clips that [two of Tate’s employees made] have views, they are good and are hitting hard,” he told the associate, according to a transcript of wiretapped phone calls from jail in a Feb. 21 court document obtained by Rolling Stone. (The transcript has been translated from English to Romanian, back into English.) “Keep going! Good job. Over and over again, different ones … we need the girls to cry, to be frustrated, angry.”
There was an urgency. Time was running out. “You need to hurry up,” Tate said on the call, according to the translation. “We slow down and we will end up waiting without making enough explosion, so we can get the fuck away from here.”
Via social media, Tate has cast himself as an invincible hero who has risen from poverty to unimaginable riches. He’s painted himself as a lothario irresistible to women — such an expert on them, in fact, that men pay to learn his methods. With his carefully crafted facade, he’s risen to the top of the influencer ecosystem, with the far right embracing him as a free-speech martyr and the left’s condemnation of his misogynistic views giving him even more oxygen.
But his arrest in December has risked lighting a match to the entire house of cards. Were the female supporters he surrounded himself with wooed by the charms he’s been selling to his followers — or are they victims of the “loverboy method,” the term used by prosecutors to describe how Tate and his brother allegedly lured vulnerable women to Romania? (The Tates deny all the criminal allegations against them.)
The more the facade is peeled back, the more distortions are revealed. The rags-to-riches narrative? Likely exaggerated. The claims of worldwide domination in the athletic sphere? Similarly overstated. Even women on social media claiming to be “friends” of the Tates, begging for the brothers’ freedom, are employees and girlfriends specifically instructed to do so, according to prosecutors. The closer you get to the Tate brothers, sources tell Rolling Stone, the more it seems the misogynistic empire is based on a flimsy pyramid of half-truths and embellished claims.
On Jan. 23, just days before Andrew called his assistant to applaud the online testimonials of Jasmine — one of his girlfriends and employees, according to one source, and one of the alleged victims in his case, who did not respond to requests for comment — she tweeted:
I am being used by the prosecution to hold my family and friends in jail for a crime they didn’t commit
Innocent people are in jail so a prosecutor can try to get a promotion
The corruption is disgusting
WAKE UP PEOPLE!
I am not a Victim
There are no Victims in the Tate case
Jasmine’s tweet was just one of a slew of posts from a coordinated and vocal crew of supporters that have emerged on social media. Tina Glandian, Andrew’s attorney, classifies this as a grass-roots campaign: “It’s individuals and people who feel a certain way about the case, and they are speaking out on their own kind of initiative,” she says.
But wiretapped conversations from jail appear to show Tate passing instructions to women in his circle — some of whom are classified as victims by the Romanian prosecution — to speak out on his behalf. Of the wiretapped conversations, a spokesperson for Tate said: “At the time of these recordings, Andrew was not able to make an official statement in the case file, therefore explored all available avenues to defend himself. At this point in the investigation, the brothers are presumed innocent; however, some outlets are acting like they have already been convicted.”
The bombastic, wheeling-and-dealing, pimplike identity Tate has created is, according to his supporters, simply an act intended to advance his mythos. “What a lot of people fail to realize is that Andrew’s online persona, especially in his early YouTube videos, is like that of a WWE wrestler,” says Stirling Cooper, a member of Tate’s fraternity-like organization, the War Room, and an adult actor and men’s sex coach who sells $97 manuals on how to grow your penis. “It’s a character he’s playing.”
That’s the line Tate’s lawyer is taking as well. Glandian summarizes Tate’s many inflammatory and arguably self-incriminating statements over the years as “a small amount of information he puts on that is exaggerated, where you could say it’s meant to be clickbait. And that’s the nature of being a public persona, the one he has chosen to be, at least.”
The public persona Tate has chosen is one that openly, and vociferously, hates women. “You cannot be responsible for a dog if it doesn’t obey you, or a child if it doesn’t obey you, or a woman that doesn’t obey you,” he says in one podcast appearance in his now-infamous accent, a perplexing amalgam of a Midwestern twang and British English. In another, he mimics what he’d do if a woman carrying a machete accused him of cheating: “It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face, and then grip her up by the neck, ‘Shut up, bitch!’”
Those who knew Tate as a young man say they saw glimpses of misogynistic braggadocio and a need for attention, though they never imagined it would reach this point. If this Tate is a caricature, then it’s one rooted in truth — and morphed out of control. “This character he’s created is based on what he thinks masculinity should be,” a source who knew Tate as a young man says. “And this is the sad thing about it: He has been playing this character for so long that he has actually become worse than the character he portrays.”
THE MYTH OF ANDREW TATE starts way back at the beginning. “The doctor pinched my thigh to get a response, and I growled,” he wrote on a kickboxing-gear site about his birth on Dec. 1, 1986, at Washington, D.C.’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He adds that he “never learned to cry for attention, only used grunts to indicate hunger or discomfort, but mostly I was silent.”
Tristan was born two years later. (A sister, now a corporate lawyer whom Andrew has scoffed at for attending “feminist rallies,” was born in 1990. She did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) To many who have met the Tate brothers, Tristan seemed to be the gentler, more subdued one. “He’s calm, doesn’t speak much,” Dorina Svet, Andrew’s former girlfriend, tells Rolling Stone. “[He is] also more stable in his [relationships] and loving.” The late model Coconut Kitty, who worked with and briefly dated Tristan, said he spoke often of his brother. “He said he and his brother are best friends, and [Andrew] was the most important person in his life,” she said when we spoke after the April 2022 raid at the brothers’ home. (Coconut Kitty died in February.)
Yet the intense closeness of the brothers has struck many as disquieting, with one source referring to Tristan as Andrew’s “lapdog.” “[Their] relationship dynamic is very odd,” says another source who knew the Tate brothers as young men, describing them as “co-dependent.” “It’s like Tristan is held captive by Andrew and believes [or] follows everything Andrew says or does.” Another referred to Andrew as a father figure of sorts, saying that Tristan had modeled himself in Andrew’s image due to their real father, Emory, being largely absent from their lives.
Andrew speaks often, and in glowing terms, about his late father, an American chess International Master. “He was somewhat of a cult figure in chess with his charismatic personality, macho persona, and hyperintelligence,” says Daiim Shabazz, Emory’s friend and author of the biography Triple Exclam!!!: The Life and Games of Emory Tate, Chess Warrior. Tate himself has described Emory as the original progenitor of his views on masculinity. “[My mother] was very much subservient to my father, which was a good thing,” he said on one podcast. “[I] think I learned a lot of my lessons, I guess, on male-female dynamics, to a degree, from my childhood.”
What Tate has not spoken openly about is his father’s myriad personal demons. In 1992, Emory was discharged from the Air Force. Though the elder Tate did not like to speak about it, in his biography of Emory, Shabazz writes that “superiors believed Tate embellished intelligence and cited a personality disorder” — which Andrew later claimed on a podcast, in a rare vulnerable moment, was narcissistic personality disorder — as the reason. Later in his life, Shabazz writes, Emory developed a drinking problem, which led on at least one occasion to him being kicked out of a chess tournament.
Despite his public worship of Emory, Tate and his siblings were largely raised by their mother, Eileen, a British cafeteria worker who split with Emory in 1997. (Eileen declined to comment for this piece.) After the divorce, the kids moved back to Luton, England, with their mother, where they lived in a sprawling suburban neighborhood that was famously home to a spate of violent youth riots in 1995. Tate has said he was bullied for being the only American in school, and those who knew him later in his life say that his being Anglo-American, as well as mixed-race, contributed to his struggles with his identity. “The impression I had is … he didn’t feel like he fit in anywhere,” says one person who knew Tate as a young man. “That’s why he was constantly trying to prove himself.”
Success came slowly to Tate. He saw some fame with kickboxing, winning a few International Sport Karate Association titles, even sparring with actor Idris Elba for a Discovery documentary. But despite marketing himself as a high-ranking kickboxing champion, Tate was far from a household name. “He never stood out in the world that I’m in,” says one insider of the sport. “He’s just a dude who got in there, lined himself up with the right people, and got a title.”
The Tates have spoken often of their impoverished upbringing in a seeming effort to bolster their self-made bona fides, with Tristan talking about scrounging for KFC leftovers from uneaten buckets left on tables. Sources who knew the brothers as young men, however, doubt this happened: “He never came from poverty. If he’s saying he’s gone around nicking KFC chicken, that’s a complete lie,” says one. “He had a Porsche and Ferrari.” (Photos from that time confirm the Porsche, at least.)
In 2009, Tate was cast on Ultimate Traveller, a British reality-TV competition in which a group of young neophyte travelers in Indonesia vie for a £10,000 prize. Andrew lasted only a few weeks, as he was sent home from the series after getting an eye infection. But he clearly set out to make an impression as a “baddie,” according to one person close to the production, lying to contestants and manipulating them to win the prize money. “I’ve never been in a situation so far, in my 21 years, where I really wanted something and didn’t get it,” he says on the show.
But this was not the impression several people who worked on the show had of Tate. One source close to the production described him as hypersensitive, recalling an incident where he, during a bandana-making challenge, blew up at another contestant who gently mocked him for getting paint everywhere. “He seemed a little bit insecure, to be honest with you,” they say. “He just wanted to fit in.”
Contrary to his extremely libidinous, womanizing persona, Tate did not seem like a ladies’ man and was rarely seen in the company of women, another source close to his reality-TV career says. “I don’t think he’s a guy who likes being around women, if that makes sense,” they say.
Those who knew Tate at this point in his life say he seemed intent on proving himself as virile and aggressive, even though they did not get the sense that those qualities came naturally to him. One woman — who asked to remain anonymous due to fears of harassment from Tate’s fan base, as did most people interviewed for this article — visited him and Tristan at their home in 2009. She remembers having fun that weekend, with Andrew teaching her how to box, but the trip soured after she and a friend staged an impromptu photo shoot in front of the Tates’ Porsche, adopting an aggressively macho posture in front of his kickboxing championship belts, and dressing up his punching bag in girls’ clothes. “We weren’t trying to be nasty or malicious,” she recalls. “We just thought how seriously he was taking himself was funny.”
When Andrew saw she’d posted the photos on Facebook, he blew up, she says, unleashing a barrage of insults at her and calling her and her friend “bitches.” That was the last time they spoke. “It was a bit sad,” she recalls. “It showed me a different side to him I hadn’t seen before.” Prior to that moment, Tate had struck her as something of a blank slate — “an exceptionally lame guy,” as she puts it. “There’s not much about him that is creative or interesting.”
“I was like, ‘What can I do with these hot girls?’” Tate has said. “It’s just an asset, right?”
IN THE MID 2010s, TATE TURNED to another money-making avenue: the webcamming industry. Camming involves the livestreaming of models performing sexual acts online in exchange for money from viewers. When Tate started the business, camming was in its nascent stages, but it has since become a multibillion-dollar sector of the adult industry.
Tate has framed his entry into the adult industry as his “aha” moment. It was the ultimate life hack — subjugate women for profit as a way out of the “Matrix,” as he refers to the nine-to-five grind. In one version of the story he tells, he was inspired to start a camming business after he saw a pop-up ad online, then calling four of his girlfriends to “come work” for him. “I was like, ‘What can I do with these hot girls?,’” he later said. “It’s just an asset, right?” He has since claimed to have managed at least 75 cam models at one time, though it appears that, at least at first, the brothers primarily employed their own girlfriends, who would perform live sex shows on the site MyFreeCams. And even though Andrew has frequently criticized the porn industry, telling his followers to avoid watching porn so as not to “waste [their] potential,” sometimes a man bearing Tate’s chest tattoo would have sex on a live cam with his then-girlfriend.
Many of the Tates’ girlfriends worked for them, but not all. Indeed, Tate’s former girlfriend Svet tells Rolling Stone she had no idea he ran a camming business. Her impression was that he made his money via kickboxing and cryptocurrency. With her, she says, he adopted the persona of a family man: “He would just say he was looking for a sincere girl with a pure soul to start a family and have three to five children with,” she says. Indeed, Svet says Andrew was particularly obsessed with getting her pregnant and insisted on having sex without protection. “He talked many times” about getting her pregnant and having her raise his children, she says. (A spokesperson for Tate says “[Andrew] vehemently denies any allegations that suggest he urged previous girlfriends to have unprotected sex. Andrew has been in various consensual sexual relationships; however, he would always encourage protecting himself and his partner.”)
As he was growing his camming business, Tate managed to land on another reality show: Big Brother U.K. But he was on the show for only a few weeks before he was kicked off, after a video surfaced of him beating his ex-girlfriend with a belt, which he referred to as “a kinky sex video” and “role play.” (The girlfriend has said it was consensual.)
The public assumed he was expelled from Big Brother because of the video. But according to a January 2023 story on Vice World News, the show’s producers had learned that in 2015, Tate was arrested on suspicion of physical abuse and sexual assault. In early 2015, a woman alleged that Tate had repeatedly strangled her, while another woman claimed he had sex with her without her consent. (Tate has claimed the women made up this story as retaliation after he fired them.) According to Vice, police dropped the investigation in 2019 due to lack of evidence.
Asked about the video, as well as the women who came forward alleging that Tate choked them, Tate’s lawyer Glandian says she is “not gonna sit here and judge what is appropriate, and what is not” between “two consenting adults.” “A few years ago, 50 Shades of Grey came out, and the premise of all of that was consensual, BDSM activity,” she says. “Again, I think if you take something out of context, it may appear a certain way. Obviously, if two adults consent to that behavior, then it’s legal, and it’s fine.”
Tristan also encountered legal trouble in the United Kingdom. According to the same court document obtained by Rolling Stone, he had been arrested for assault at his apartment in Luton on Jan. 1, 2014, after the alleged victim came home from a New Year’s Eve party. No charges or convictions resulted from the arrest, and Tate’s representative declined to comment on it. When asked about the arrest, a representative for the Bedfordshire Police confirmed that “a man in his thirties was dealt with via an out-of-court disposal for a domestic assault in connection to the incident you are referring to,” but did not provide further information, citing U.K. data-privacy laws.
After being kicked off Big Brother, Tate’s dreams of reality-TV fame were essentially squashed. “He’s not doing Dancing on Ice after that, is he, really?” says the source close to Tate’s reality-TV career. “So he’s got to find different avenues.”
Tate has described the brothers’ relocation from England to Romania almost in terms of a lark, telling an elaborate story of his arrest, saying that his former employee (the one who accused him in 2015) falsely claimed he assaulted her in retaliation for him firing her for getting too drunk and vomiting on his floor. “I fought that back and forth for three years until I was finally free, all because one bitch lied,” he recounted on one podcast. “[That’s] the reason I said fuck the West, fuck England, I’m bouncing.”
To some degree, the decision made financial sense: Bucharest, where the brothers set up shop, is considered the epicenter of the camming industry, due to the relatively low rent, the high youth unemployment rate, and its preponderance of broke young women. And the brothers had been visiting since 2012, according to Sebastian Vieru, a business associate of the Tates, to attend galas for RXF, a mixed martial arts league that Andrew claims he part-owns.
But in one now-deleted video, Andrew appears to admit that he relocated to Romania due to what he perceived as the country’s less stringent laws regarding sexual assault. “I’m not a fucking rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want,” he said. “I like being free.”
In an attempt to monetize his lothario persona, in 2018, Andrew launched the PhD (Pimping Hoes’ Degree) program, a $450 video course that instructed men how to attract women. A now-archived description of it reads, “My job was to meet a girl, go on a few dates, sleep with her, test if she’s quality, get her to fall in love with me to where she’d do anything I’d say, and then get her on webcam so we could become rich together.” In a now-deleted PhD video, he instructs men how to convince their partners to get into sex work: “The only way me and you as a team are gonna be rich people is if we go get a bunch of girls to suck my dick together.”
In 2021, Andrew founded Hustlers University, a so-called educational platform. There, according to Hustlers University promotional materials, he amassed more than 168,000 students, which, at $49.99 per month, would have earned him $8 million a month. (Tate rebranded Hustlers University to the Real World last year.)
For a fee of more than $5,000 he also offered his acolytes access to the War Room, the brothers’ social network and an exclusive Telegram group offering their patented wisdom on sex, masculinity, and how to make money. To hear War Room associates like a security professional based in Dubai who goes by the name Sartorial Shooter tell it, it’s little more than “a highly supportive global networking group of men striving to excel in all areas of life.” And in some ways it is that, with members adopting a hyper-macho stance by psyching each other up about money, cars, women, and conquests.
But it also may be more sinister than that. According to screengrabs obtained by the independent journalist Nick Monroe, which Rolling Stone confirmed came from an individual with access to the group, and an interview with a source familiar with the War Room, the Tates encouraged members to get their wives and girlfriends to do online sex work and fork over their income to them. A creator who enrolled in the War Room and posted a vlog review of his time there also says the organization teaches members how to become a “pimping guy who looks down on women, uses them and abuses them and manipulates them to get from them what he wants.” One screengrab appears to show a high-ranking member of the War Room instructing members on how to coerce their partners to cam: “Breathe it on her neck, in her ear as she’s cumming,” he instructs.
Another guiding ethos of the War Room is achieving autonomy from “the Matrix” by obtaining multiple passports and citizenships. Screengrabs of 2019 War Room chat logs obtained by Rolling Stone appear to show the War Room instructing men how to do so. In one screengrab, a user identified as Tate outlines a “project” to help people obtain multiple passports: “Pay a price. Send old ID. Passport in the mail. Will let you guys know as soon as we’re live,” the message reads. Another includes a photo of what appears to be two state drivers licenses and an international driver’s license, all of which include a photo of a man resembling Tate, bearing his name and birthdate. While having multiple passports is not illegal, Tate has openly bragged about collecting them to escape the law: “If I fuck up big-time and England wants me in jail, I can fly on a Nigerian passport…I have so many fucking passports, what are you gonna [do] block ‘em all?,” he has said.
“Pay a price. Send old ID. Passport in the mail. Will let you guys know as soon as we’re live”
A spokesperson for Tate denies that the group hosted illegal activities, saying that all passports and citizenships were obtained via legal means and saying they “deny the legitimacy” of the screenshots provided. The spokesperson says the War Room is a “legitimate online community that encourages people to better themselves physically, mentally and financially.” “While the room has made any and all efforts to inform its members on the legal avenues, it does not hold itself responsible for the illegal pursuits of its members, if such endeavors ever existed in the first place,” the spokesperson adds.
Having been rejected by the mainstream entertainment industry, Andrew used his unique talent for provocation and self-inflation to befriend those on the fringes of the far right. Through the martial arts gym in Luton where he trained, Andrew had befriended Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the virulently racist and Islamophobic English Defence League.
Though Andrew had garnered some attention with a few viral tweets, including one bragging about never having seen Star Wars, most people on the far-right dismissed him as a mildly amusing troll. “He was one of those people who’d float around Twitter who no one took seriously,” says Lucy Brown, a former camerawoman for Robinson. “He was a low-rent YouTuber you wouldn’t pay attention to.”
Yet through the strength of his connection to Robinson, Tate was able to forge other friendships on the far right. He befriended YouTuber and former InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson, who brought him to CPAC in 2019, and Pizzagate-pusher Mike Cernovich, who visited him in Romania in 2019, according to tweets posted by Cernovich and a high-ranking member of the War Room. At CPAC, Andrew also befriended MAGA troll and far-right prankster Jacob Wohl, and 2019 messages obtained by Rolling Stone show that Wohl became a member of the War Room. Wohl told Rolling Stone that he was a member of the group, adding: “It is abundantly clear that the prosecution of Andrew Tate is nothing more than a politically motivated witch-hunt built on lies.” (Cernovich did not respond to a request for comment.)
Despite his career as a pornographer, Andrew’s willingness to say and do anything to attract attention appeared to resonate with at least some right-wing figures. “He was trying to push the men’s rights button, the pickup artist segment, the trads,” says Mike Stuchbery, a journalist based in Luton at the time. “I don’t know how he’s managed to do it but he has many different faces really appealing to right wing belief.”
The money — or the appearance of having money — didn’t hurt. Just how much money there was, though, is unclear. Andrew once claimed to be a “trillionaire.” And another time, he said he was worth $710 million. Yet Svet, Andrew’s former girlfriend, tells Rolling Stone she was shocked when she saw him flaunt his wealth on social media, as he would frequently say he was on a “tight budget” when he traveled to visit her in Spain in 2019. “In Romania, he and his brother were living in nice houses and had expensive cars,” she says. “But not the luxury life as shown on social media.” (For what it’s worth, the Romanian government has seized $4 million of assets following the Tates’ arrest, and authorities are also reportedly looking into the brothers’ assets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.)
Nonetheless, the Tates lived large in Bucharest, and were frequently seen zooming around in sports cars, dining at high-end restaurants, and dating various Romanian socialites and models. “Every time they went out to the club, there were 30 women around them,” says Vieru, the business associate. “Why do flies come to something sweet? Why do rockers have groupies? It’s cool to be with someone famous.”
Yet Romanian authorities allege that the brothers resorted to coercive methods to have sex with women, similar to those described in social media posts. In the language of human trafficking, enticing women to fall in love then forcing them into sex work is called “the loverboy method,” which is what prosecutors allege they’ve done. In court documents, they say the Tate brothers forced these women to make adult content on OnlyFans for them, while also posting on social media for 12 hours a day with little more than a five-minute break. According to one source close to the Tates, the women would be pitted against each other to go live in hours-long TikTok “battles,” competing for whoever would win more tokens from viewers, sometimes being online for so long they’d fall asleep.
It was two of these women — a Moldovan, who had met Andrew on Instagram, and an American, who had met Tristan online — who eventually brought this alleged scheme to light. After they both arrived the spring of 2022, they each became disillusioned with the setup. They’d been promised romance and adventure, according to text messages detailed in a court order obtained by the Washington Post, and instead been told to make content or pay a fine. On April 11, 2022, just a week after she’d arrived, the American’s mother placed a call to the embassy, according to a court document obtained by Rolling Stone, and the Romanian authorities raided the home, kickstarting a months-long investigation culminating in their December arrest.
Glandian, the Tates’ lawyer, denies the brothers used “undue influence” to lure the women to Romania. “We’re talking about two individuals who have a lifestyle that may be appealing to certain women,” says Glandian. “I think they had a fan base. I think they had a lot of followers. I think that the question in a case like this comes down to was there any sort of undue influence? And I don’t think the evidence here will show that there was.”
In addition to the Tates, two women were also arrested in December: Andrew’s assistant and girlfriend Naghel, a former beauty queen who frequently appeared on his social media; and Luana Radu, a former Bucharest policewoman turned cam model. Known in the press as “Tate’s angels,” the two are under investigation for allegedly forming a criminal organization to sexually exploit women. Romanian authorities allege that the two regularly threatened the women living in the Tate house with violence if they did not regularly produce sexually explicit content for them. (The two are currently under house arrest. Their lawyer declined to comment for this story.)
According to prosecutors, and one source who spoke with Rolling Stone, Naghel and Radu allegedly acted as enforcers, fining women for showing up late to shoots or for falling short of TikTok quotas, and threatening to beat them up if they didn’t comply. They also threatened to — and did, on at least one occasion, per court documents — hack into women’s accounts and post intimate photos without their consent if they failed to comply with their demands.
The Tates’ attorneys have repeatedly stated that no one at the house was being held against their will, and that the women had a mobile phone and were able to leave the house whenever they pleased. “I think they had concerns about [the women’s] safety,” Glandian tells Rolling Stone. “And any sort of comments to anybody about not going out alone was always in the context of protecting their safety, because they are targeted individuals.” Glandian did not point to any specific security concerns the brothers may have had, other than them being “individuals who are famous or notorious.”
While Andrew and Tristan have been in detainment, Andrew’s Twitter account has continued to post a mix of protestations of innocence, belligerent taunts to his detractors, and quotes from the Qur’an. (He claimed that he converted to Islam last year.) Because he has limited access to a mobile phone in jail, it is believed that he is dictating his posts via phone to an associate, though Glandian says she does not know who.
Those involved in the Tates’ PR efforts have gone to great lengths to suppress those who speak out against them. In January, the Tates sent a cease-and-desist to the American accuser and members of her family, in which they accuse them of making “false and defamatory statements to police that the Tate brothers human trafficked [her] and held…other women against their will”; the wiretapped discussions in jail between Andrew and an associate from Jan. 28 show Andrew instructing him to call the American accuser and “make it clear to her and her whole family that she will be bankrupt for life for lying if she doesn’t withdraw the testimony,” according to the court document obtained by Rolling Stone. A spokesperson told Rolling Stone: “It is difficult for the brothers to defend themselves publicly without being accused of victim shaming or victim intimidation even though legal endeavors have been made starting April 12, 2022 against the alleged victims by way of a criminal complaint that still has not been addressed by Romanian authorities in over 11 months.”
“[Tate supporters] are doing everything they can to silence [the alleged victims.] It’s something that is likely preventing other survivors from stepping forward.”
In one case, a supporter of the Tates showed up at the American accuser’s mother’s house snapping photos. “They are doing everything they can to silence them,” says Haley McNamara, the vice president of the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), an anti-trafficking organization working with some of the Tates’ alleged victims. “It’s a very serious safety concern. It’s something that is likely preventing other survivors from stepping forward.”
For now, the campaign continues to work. More than 200,000 people have signed a petition begging for the brothers to be released, and have made supportive TikTok videos outside the jail. Earlier this month, the calls for Andrew’s release grew to a fever pitch when reports surfaced that he had cancer, which many of his supporters faithfully tweeted. Andrew’s spokesperson later told us that while a “dark spot on his lung” was found during a medical consultation before his arrest, no official diagnosis has been made.
To hear Andrew’s fans tell it, it is not his naked misogyny nor his tendency toward mendaciousness that has inspired such rabid devotion. It’s his message of taking personal responsibility for your destiny, of accountability being synonymous with manhood. The stuff about keeping women in their place, pimping them on OnlyFans — all of that, his fans see as window dressing to the central message, of maintaining power and control in the face of an increasingly unstable and uncertain world.
Who Andrew Tate is — and whether or not he’s a monster guilty of the crimes of which he’s accused — is immaterial to his most ardent supporters. It doesn’t truly matter if the entire persona he has built his career on is based on lies. What matters is what he stands for: in a world where men are slowly losing their vise-like grip on power, Andrew tells them they not only should be continuing to hold on, but that it is their very birthright to do so.
“I don’t necessarily believe a word he says. I don’t trust a word he says,” says the source close to Andrew’s reality TV career. “Now he feels he has to say [these things] because there’s a huge army of little weirdos out there who want him to….[but] he’s just one of them guys. He’s a liar. He’s not trustworthy. It’s all a myth. It’s all a lie that he’s making himself believe.”