Controversial online influencer Andrew Tate has been hit with numerous charges in Romania, including accusations of rape and human trafficking, much to the dismay and delight of his supporters and detractors.
The charges, which also include forming an organized crime group, were made against Tate, his brother Tristan, and two associates.
The brothers were originally arrested at their home in Bucharest in December before a Romanian judge released them from custody and placed them on house arrest in March, while the investigation continued. The pair have denied all charges against them.
News of the indictment, which cites seven alleged victims who claim they were recruited by the Tate brothers through deception, sent shockwaves across social media.
Despite years of content showing Tate bragging about manipulating women into working for him as cam girls, supporters of the influencer framed the charges as an attack against free speech.
“Whether you’re Julian Assange, Donald Trump, or Andrew Tate … If you speak truth to power, the corrupt governments of the world will try to jail, bankrupt, and erase you,” the far-right influencer known as Catturd tweeted.
Others shared rambling tweets suggesting that the charges against Tate and other prominent figures were indicative of “Fifth Generation Warfare.”
“They’re all purveyors of truth or a counter-narrative and they’re trying to silence them, jail them, or remove them from history,” the user wrote. “They’re trying to make their narrative one-sided. It’s painfully obvious.”
Those opposed to Tate, however, celebrated the charges and admonished his followers for continuing to defend the controversial influencer.
“Tate has videos where he brags about manipulating women and forcing them into sex work + documented it on his old website,” another wrote. “Incel Tate fans: ‘Omg the matrix is attacking him.'”
Some even joked that the charges would make it more difficult for sex trafficking rings to be set up in Romania in the future.
“I hate Andrew Tate as much as anyone but the way the Romanian authorities are going after him is a very concerning attack on freedom and will have a chilling effect on anyone trying to set up a sex trafficking ring in Romania,” the user Wild Geerters said.
A Romanian judge is now set to examine the case files before a trial can be held, which could take several years.
In response to the news, Tate retweeted a remark that appeared to cast the charges as false and paint himself and his brother as victims.
“Up until now no judge has reviewed the evidence in the case file,” the tweet says. “It was all based on arguments to keep the Tate brothers in jail and under house arrest.”