Who is Andrew Tate and how did he get so big?

Who is Andrew Tate and how did he get so big?
Andrew Tate leaves Bucharest court in handcuffs amid human trafficking allegations

If you’ve been a social media user over the past year, chances are you’ve seen Andrew Tate popping up on your feed – and you’ve probably seen him in the news recently too.

Tate, 36, his brother Tristan and two other associates have been charged in Romania with rape, human trafficking and organised crime after they were detained in December 2022.

The indictment claims that the four defendants formed an organised crime group in 2021 to commit human trafficking in Romania, as well as other countries including the US and the UK.

The case names seven alleged victims who claim to have been recruited by the Tate brothers through false promises of love and marriage. Alleged victims were then taken to buildings in Ilfov county in Romania and intimidated and controlled as well as forced to take part in pornography. One defendant is also accused of raping a woman twice in March 2022.

Tate has denied the allegations against him since he was arrested in December 2022.

Tate recently claimed that he’s been “attacked” in his first public interview since he was charged with rape and human trafficking charges. The controversial influencer also said that the mainstream media spread “lies” about him while speaking to assembled reporters outside of court.

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Before his arrest, every other video seemed to feature him on TikTok, making him both one of the most ubiquitous faces on the app and one of the most controversial.

But who is Andrew 'Cobra' Tate and why did he suddenly go viral last year? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Andrew Tate?

Tate, 36, is a former professional kickboxer, entrepreneur and content creator, who founded an online course in “modern wealth creation” at his own “Hustlers University”.

Speaking about his personal wealth, he previously said in an interview: "I was broke for a long time. I made my first million when I was say 27 and then I had a 100 million by the time I was 31, 32 and then I became a trillionaire quite recently."

There are no trillionaires on the planet (according to Forbes, Elon Musk is worth $250 billion) so that might be wishful thinking on Tate’s behalf. However, Essential Sports estimates that his net worth to be around $30 million.

He enjoyed a pretty successful kickboxing career, winning world titles in two different weight divisions. He first came to prominence outside of the sporting arena while appearing on the 2016 season of Big Brother in the UK, which ended in controversial circumstances.

The influencer became one of the most talked about figures on social media last year@Cobratate

Tate gained notoriety at the time after he was evicted from the series after a video surfaced online appearing to show him beating a woman with a belt. Speaking at the time, Tate claimed that it was part of role-play to which the woman in the video had consented. He also said he was using a felt belt.

In a statement made to his Facebook, he said: ”They cut out all the sound cause she’s LAUGHING in the video. And they cut off the end of the video where she gets the belt and hits me back while we’re both laughing. What bullsh**t. It was 2012 and we were having a laugh.”

He later drew criticism following comments surrounding rape which he made following the #MeToo movement. As the Metro reported, he tweeted at the time: “Sexual harassment is disgusting and inexcusable. However, a man looking at you or whistling at you or asking your name isn’t harassment.

He added: “Women have been exchanging sex for opportunity for a very long time. Some did this. Weren’t abused. […] If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bare some responsibility.

His Twitter account was suspended in 2017, and the tweets were later removed from Twitter. But in 2022, Twitter verified the account of the infamous kickboxer, which it had already banned, as the social media company appeared to ignore its own rules.

Tate initially declined to comment further than disavowing two other accounts - @iron_mentality and @of_wudan - that appeared to be associated with him contacted by The Independent.

However, following the publication of an article on the news site, he said: “I don’t agree with being banned, people get banned from Twitter all the time and make new profiles. I’m not inciting violence, promoting terrorism or harassing anyone. This is censorship of free speech. I’ve never had specific tweets banned or been cautioned.”

MORE: Tate thinks you're a 'weak' man if you live with a woman

MORE: The most controversial Cobra Tate moments we can actually talk about

Why did he suddenly go viral?

There isn’t one viral moment or individual clip to pinpoint his rise to viral fame, but rather it seems like part of a larger concerted effort to get his name and face out there.

However, one comment which did bring a great deal of attention was his decision to call out Jake Paul for a fight. He claims he previously offered Paul £2.5million to take him on in 2020.

"I don't dislike him, I understand him but I want to make something clear, I would still kick the living f*** out of Jake Paul," he told The Fellas podcast.

"I'm not some washed-up UFC fighter and I'm not smaller than him, I would beat the living s*** out of him and if he wants to fight I'll fight him any day of the f****ng week. He's very smart with his 'I'm just a YouTuber angle'.”

He added: "You're a full-grown man with the best coaches in the world who has dedicated years to learning how to box. The guy's not a jack*** and the fact he puts this spin on it is very smart.

"I offered him $3million at the time, I don't think it's about money for him I think it's about credibility and fame. Him fighting me is a massive risk for him, he knows that. I'd love to kick the f*** out of the guy because I love to fight, that's the difference between me and everyone else he's fought," Tate continued.

"I'm not some desperate guy at the end of his career who needs the money. I would dedicate my life [to training], treat him like a professional and I would destroy him like I've destroyed all of the professionals I have ever fought."

Paul was previously asked about the possibility of fighting Tate in a press conference, and he replied: "I don't know who that is."

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