This story has been updated to clarify how the pizza boxes came into play.
Earlier this week, climate change activist Greta Thunberg got into it online with Andrew Tate, a former kickboxer, TikTok star, and controversial influencer who, until recently, had been kicked off most social media platforms. Now, a new development: The 36-year-old, his brother Tristan Tate, and two other suspects have been arrested in Romania after a raid on multiple properties in Bucharest. Per the Guardian, authorities say Tate is being held on charges of human trafficking, rape, and organized crime. His lawyer has confirmed his detention to Reuters. More on the ongoing saga:
- Details: Per a translation of a statement from Romania's anti-organized crime unit, Tate and the other suspects "appear to have created an organized crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing, and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content meant to be seen on specialized websites for a cost." Six women who were allegedly exploited have been IDed so far.
- His capture: The Independent initially reported that Tate may have been busted by authorities thanks to his own retort to Thunberg, which included a video of him in front of pizza boxes from a local joint called Jerry's Pizza. Sources said to be "close to the investigation" told the Romanian news outlet Gandul that Romanian authorities have been waiting for months for Tate and his brother to return to Romania, and that his social media posts confirmed they were back. Some online took that to mean that the pizza boxes were his undoing, but a rep from the crime unit now tells Reuters that's not the case.
- Who is Andrew Tate? Although Tate, who the AP notes is a British-US citizen, is a well-known entity among many teens and young adults, others on the internet over a certain age seemed to be scratching their heads as to who he is after his interaction with Thunberg and subsequent arrest. The Guardian offers context, via an article published over the summer on Tate's "violent, misogynistic world." An example of his worldview: He says "women belong in the home, can't drive, and are a man's property," and that rape victims should "bear responsibility" for being attacked, per the news outlet.
- Weird factoid: As the internet proceeded to drag Tate for being "owned" by a teenager, another odd nugget emerged: Last year, an organization had pressured Romania to stop human traffickers, per Indy100. That org's name? Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, also known as ... GRETA.
- What's next: A rep for Romania's Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism tells the BBC that prosecutors have asked to have Tate held at a "detention center" for an additional 30 days beyond the initial 24-hour detention. A judge will rule on that later Friday, per the rep.
- Tate's reaction: After his arrest, Tate broke his silence with a "cryptic" statement, per the Mirror. "The Matrix sent their agents," he wrote on Twitter early Friday. He made a similar remark when he was arrested Thursday, telling reporters, "The Matrix has attacked me," per Sky News.
- Thunberg's reaction: It was a short and sweet one that didn't even mention Tate by name. "This is what happens when you don't recycle your pizza boxes," she posted.
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