Andrew Tate trial: Why Romania wants to remind the world the toxic influencer is British
The world must “remember” misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate is from the UK, a local Romanian politician has said as the country remains gripped by the influencer’s court case.
Oana Toiu, an MP who is president of the labour and social protection committee, told The Independent Tate is “exploiting” misogynistic views among young people in Romania while their “patriarchal” government is ignoring issues around young people being radicalised by misogynistic social media personalities like Tate.
Her comments were echoed by teenage campaigners in Romania who warned the world must not forget Tate is from the UK rather than Romania as they explained most of the boys in their class support Tate and “continuously” discuss him.
Tate, a former kickboxing world champion who has been banned from a number of social media platforms for hate speech and voicing misogynistic views, is presently under arrest in Romania facing allegations of being part of an organised crime group, human trafficking and rape alongside his brother Tristan.
Prominent Romanian NGOs told The Independent Tate is “dominating the headlines”, having become increasingly well-known in Romania since the allegations emerged, but is better known among young people due to his large social media presence.
Campaigners warned Tate, who is reported to have lived in Romania since 2017, is particularly popular among misogynistic men in Romania, while some people mistakenly think Tate, a dual British-US citizen, is Romanian.
Ms Toiu, part of a progressive, liberal political party called the Union to Save Romania, said: “It is important for the world to remember Andrew Tate is from the UK not Romania”. But the views of young people in Romania are becoming more “polarised” and some are “sensitive to radical points of view” such as Tates, she noted.
Adding: “Extremes in the young generation tend to be more present. That means that I have seen way more feminist approaches among girls, but also from some boys. But then also the opposite views.”
Ms Toiu argued the two main political parties running the country are “patriarchal” in terms of their “internal culture” as well as their decision-making. The politician warned the Romanian government overlooks issues like gender equality and protecting people from misogyny.
Ms Toiu, who has campaigned for Romania to introduce an age of sexual consent, said Tate has harmed Romania’s reputation as a result of the allegations levied against him.
“It draws attention to problems in Romania,” she added. “I think Andrew Tate is hurting both Romania and the UK. He is harming the image of both. Andrew is harming the image of men in general.”
She added that Tate’s arrest “accelerates” discussions about human trafficking and the exploitation of young girls in Romania - as well as putting these issues on the international agenda and creating “extra pressure” to tackle them.
Tate, who was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech, had his Twitter account restored in November alongside that of ex-US president Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West in the wake of Elon Musk gaining control of the social media site. Tate has 4.9 million Twitter followers.
Irina Echim, president of Girl Up Romania, a gender equality NGO for secondary school students, told The Independent: “In Romania, he is well known for sure. There is this nationalist belief he is from here. People actually believe that he is Romanian.”
The 17-year-old student, who lives in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, added: “Most of the boys in my high school support him and continuously talk about him”.
Tate “plays into” an “alpha male role” which makes young boys think if they emulate him, they will be able “get girls”, she said, adding that Tate presents highly misogynistic views as “being hard truths”.
Ms Echim recalled a time she came into a lesson and the boys appeared to be enjoying the fact the female pupils were unhappy they support Tate. She argued a culture of misogyny - such as slut-shaming and the belief women should remain in the home - is prevalent in Romania.
While Catinca Olariu, Girl Up Romania’s vice president, noted a high proportion of men in Romania hold misogynistic views as she warned Tate is popular among such men.
“Older generations are not as willing to like him as younger teenage people. This age group is really impressionable,” she added.
The Independent previously reported on research by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) which unearthed 47 videos of Tate pushing what it describes as “extreme misogyny”.
Laura Albu, president of Romanian Women's Lobby, an umbrella organisation for 22 women’s rights NGOs, said: “Before the scandal, Tate wasn’t famous among the general population. Since the scandal, he is now well-known. He is dominating the headlines.”
While AdÄ±na Manea, director of Youth For Youth, an NGO which delivers sexual and reproductive health education for young people in Romania, said they polled a small group of their 14 to 25-year-old volunteers.
"All of them knew about the Tate brothers," Ms Manea said of the research which polled 36 people. "They found about them from TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. All of them said Tate is influencing young people. 90 plus per cent thought they have a negative influence."
The government fails to take “preventive measures” or take a “proactive approach on gender equality or sex education or empowering young people in taking better decisions”, she said.
“Politicians in government have a more traditionalist conservative view on society - therefore gender equality and preventing sexual violence through preventative measures is not a priority. Also, politicians have been involved in sexual scandals and gender-based violence themselves.”
Tate and his brother will be forced to stay in detention until late February after a judge gave the green light to a request to extend their time in custody by 30 days for a second time. Last week, Tate told reporters “there is no evidence in my file, because I’ve done nothing wrong.“