Social media influencer and self-described misogynist Andrew Tate has lost his defamation case against a U.S. Marine sergeant whose reports of human trafficking led to Tate's arrest in Romania on sex crime charges.
A federal judge dismissed Tate's claims against the Marine, ruling that the sergeant was providing "valuable information to help investigative authorities" when he forwarded a woman's allegations of human trafficking against Tate to a U.S. embassy and military officials.
"He did what the legal system encourages people who suspect criminal activity to do — alert authorities with the power to investigate and act," U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg wrote in throwing out the case.
According to court documents, the sergeant's actions set in motion the investigation that culminated in a raid of Tate's Romanian property, where prosecutors in the Balkan nation say Tate and his younger brother, Tristan, coerced multiple women into making porn on OnlyFans while the duo pocketed a large portion of the revenue.
The Tate brothers remain in Romania pending their trial on charges including human trafficking and organized crime, which were brought against them in June 2023.
Among other allegations, the BBC reported that Andrew Tate is accused of striking a woman during a sexual encounter and telling a victim, "Shut up you whore, you will do as I say," when she resisted his plan for group sex. Tristan Tate allegedly declared he was going to "slave these bitches" in reference to the brothers' OnlyFans operation, the BBC reported.
The brothers have denied the allegations. They sued two of their accusers in Palm Beach County court, claiming to be victims of an extortion scheme by the women.
The Tates' lawsuit named the U.S. Marine Corps sergeant as a defendant in an attempt to hold him liable for forwarding the accusers' claims to various government officials. The brothers claimed he was romantically involved with one of the accusers, a Delray Beach woman, and ignored signs that she was fabricating the trafficking story.
Judge Rosenberg rejected the argument in her January 18 ruling.
"The text messages that [the sergeant] received were so concerning and involved a situation so serious that any reasonable person would have acted to save the potential trafficking victim," she wrote in the decision (attached below).
The sergeant received the messages from the Delray Beach woman in April 2022 while she was staying at the Tates' house in Romania. She had traveled to the Eastern European country to meet up with the Tates and explore work on OnlyFans and the internet modeling industry after meeting Tristan Tate a few months earlier at an event in Miami, according to court documents. (New Times is not publishing the sergeant's and the accusers' names because the judge ordered that their identities remain anonymous in the court file in light of online threats of violence from Andrew Tate's fans.)
Text messages included in court documents show the Florida woman informing the sergeant that "groomers and handlers" enlisted by the Tates were forcing models to stay at the brothers' property. She said she had been at the property for a few days and wanted to leave for London, though she urged the sergeant not to report the alleged crimes.
The judge noted that the sergeant, a Marine civil reconnaissance specialist on reserve status since 2020, "consulted his supervising officer in the U.S. military for advice and then followed that advice to alert U.S. authorities in Romania." The sergeant was entitled to immunity from the Tate brothers' defamation claims regardless of whether he was acting as a private citizen or under his duties as a military officer, Rosenberg ruled.
Though the judge dismissed the case against the sergeant, the Tates' defamation claims against the accusers are still pending.
The judge ruled that those claims should be fielded in Palm Beach County state court rather than federal court, as the sergeant's presence as a defendant was the primary grounds for federal jurisdiction.
The Tate brothers were under house arrest in Romania until August 2023 when the local judiciary loosened pretrial restrictions on them. Reuters reported that the Romanian court in December rejected the Tates' request to travel to the United Kingdom to visit a family member.
Son of chessmaster Emory Tate, Andrew Tate was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up stateside. After his parents divorced, he moved with his British mother to the United Kingdom, attending high school in Bedfordshire. He competed as a kickboxer in his 20s and later gained worldwide notoriety and millions of social media followers by promoting his brand of chauvinism, through which he unapologetically depicted women as possessions and sexual objects. At one point, he was one of the world's most-searched people on Google.
A popular influencer in the "manosphere" — a collection of internet communities where masculinity and misogyny are often glorified — Tate, 37, has stated that he made his initial fortune managing a webcam business with dozens of models. He went on to sell online courses to train men on how to subjugate women.
"[It] was me teaching people how I managed females in those scenarios, how I controlled their emotions, how I convinced them to work and give me most of their money, how I convinced them to share me with other women, why they obeyed me," Tate explained in one interview.
In 2015, two women in the United Kingdom accused Tate of rape, and the allegations were investigated by police in Hertfordshire, a county just to the north of London. Both women said they had worked as webcam models for Tate. Hertfordshire police told a local UK news outlet that the cases were closed in 2019 after prosecutors declined to prosecute.
Tate appeared on the popular TV series Big Brother in 2016 but was kicked off after video surfaced of him repeatedly striking a half-naked woman with a belt. He maintained that it was part of a consensual sex act.