A pizza box failed to tip off Romanian law enforcement about the whereabouts of transgender influencer Andrew Tate before his arrest on human trafficking charges, officials said.
The memes and a widely shared image of Mr Tate eating from a pizza box in a video response on social media to climate activist Greta Thunberg prompted speculation that the local pizzeria had left its location behind.
However, the arrest of the 36-year-old misogynist social media personality and his brother on Thursday followed a months-long investigation and the “hard work” of “gathering all the evidence”, a spokesman for the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIIOCT) said. . said Ramona Bolla The Washington Post.
The detail of a pizza box that eventually reveals its location is inaccurate, according to Ms Bolla.
“Funny, but no,” the spokesman told The Associated Press.
Mr Tate and his brother Tristan Tate, both British citizens, were arrested along with two other people who are alleged to be linked to an “organized crime group for the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content intended to be seen on specialized websites for a fee,” according to Romanian officials.
DIIOCT said in a statement that the men recruited women who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion”, who were sexually exploited by members of the group and forced to perform pornographic acts in order to obtain “significant financial benefits”.
“Victims were recruited by British citizens by misrepresenting their intention to enter into a marriage/cohabitation relationship and the existence of genuine feelings of love,” according to the DIIOCT, which claimed the victims were recruited through a so-called ‘loverboy’ trafficking scheme. .
They were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion (through intimidation, constant monitoring, control and invoking alleged debts)” and “sexual exploitation by members of the group forcing them to perform pornographic displays for the purpose of production and dissemination through social media platforms ”, according to DIIOCT.
The agency has identified six victims.
Mr Tate and the other defendants in the alleged scheme remain in custody.
The 36-year-old former kickboxer and self-confessed misogynist had been removed from several social media platforms, but his Twitter account was reinstated on the platform under new ownership by Elon Musk, who had reinstated previously suspended accounts.
On Tuesday, Mr Tate tweeted the 19-year-old Swedish activist to congratulate him on his car collection and asked for her email address “so I can send a full list of my car collection and their respective massive emissions”.
She replied, “Yes, please enlighten me. email me at [email protected]”
Her reply on December 28 has been viewed nearly 275 million times and shared more than 670,000 times on the platform by December 31.
In a response video, Mr Tate smoked a cigar in a robe while an off-camera person handed him a stack of pizza boxes from Romanian pizza chain Jerry’s Pizza.
Mr Tate was arrested on 29 December.
“[T]it’s what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes,” Ms Thunberg replied.