Andrew Tate accusers forced into hiding after online harassment from ‘troll army,’ lawyer says

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(BUCHAREST, Romania) — Two accusers of divisive social media personality Andrew Tate, who is charged with human trafficking and rape in Romania, have been the victims of “targeted” harassment designed to “scare them into silence,” their legal adviser in the United States told ABC News.

Tate, 36, and his brother Tristan, 35, were charged alongside two associates in Romania last month with rape, human trafficking and creating an organized crime group. Romanian prosecutors accuse the four of sexually exploiting seven women by coercing them to work for a webcam business at the Tates’ residence in Bucharest. One woman was allegedly raped at least twice, while another woman was allegedly subjected to physical violence to force her to keep performing, according to prosecutors.

The Tate brothers, who are dual U.K.-U.S. citizens, have vehemently denied the charges, claiming that they are the victims of a conspiracy to punish them for their polarizing views and accusing the women of lying.

Both brothers have millions of followers on social media with their controversial content garnering legions of dedicated fans. They promote an “alpha male” lifestyle and have gained widespread notoriety for their self-described misogynist views. Tate himself, who has been dubbed the “king of toxic masculinity,” remains banned from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube after an outcry from anti-hate speech campaign groups alleging his accounts encouraged violent misogyny.

Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel at the U.S.-based nonprofit National Center on Sexual Exploitation, is the attorney advising two women — one from Florida and the other Moldovan-British — whom Romanian prosecutors allege were lured to Romania and then sexually exploited. One of the women alleges she was raped.

Pinter told ABC News that since the Tate brothers were arrested in Romania last year, the two women have faced a deluge of harassment and have been targeted by a “troll army” launching online attacks and seeking to discredit the alleged victims. The lawyer accused Tate of inciting the attacks by his supporters with his social media posts, but said she did not have hard evidence he was directing them and Tate has denied doing so.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Pinter told ABC News during a recent interview.

Pinter alleged that Tate’s vast social media following has been turned against her clients, who are grappling with thousands of threats and relentless efforts to intimidate and undermine them. Supporters of the brothers have doxed private information of her clients and their relatives online, Pinter said, while at least two private investigators have also pursued her clients, digging into their past and showing up at their homes.

Both women remain anonymous for fears of their safety, but online trolls have been able to identify them and posted their details online, forcing the women to leave their respective homes and go into hiding, according to Pinter.

“It’s incredibly oppressive,” Pinter said. “Because they feel afraid for their safety and for their loved ones and for anyone they engage with, it’s incredibly isolating. It’s incredibly exhausting and frightening.”

On Tuesday, the Tate brothers filed a lawsuit in Florida’s Palm Beach County against both women as well as the Florida woman’s parents and another man, claiming the human trafficking and rape allegations were invented. The suit, seeking $5 million in damages, alleges that the five conspired to fabricate the accusations, leading to the Tates’ imprisonment and costing them millions in lost income.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s Law Center said it has “seen the news regarding the Tates’ lawsuit.”

“We are evaluating next steps as we wait for them to give formal notice, but we do not believe the lawsuit has any merit,” the center told ABC News in a statement on Friday.

The Tate brothers were arrested in Bucharest last December and subsequently held in jail for three months before being released and placed under house arrest in their home on the outskirts of the Romanian capital, where they have lived since 2017. The pair remain in custody under house arrest there.

They have since taken to Twitter to challenge the Romanian case, posting frequently on the social media platform after a 2017 ban on their accounts was lifted. Tate, a former professional kickboxer who appeared on the U.K. version of the television series “Big Brother” in 2016, has more than 7 million followers on Twitter. He and his brother also regularly post videos on the online video platform Rumble, which their supporters clip and share on other social media platforms.

Pinter said there was a spike in the online harassment of her clients every time news articles about the Romanian case or statements from the Tate brothers appeared online. She alleged the same methods that has allowed Tate to build his following through viral social media posts over the years is now being used to instigate mass online attacks against the two women.

“The same strategy that he used to indoctrinate thousands of young men created a readymade army of trolls,” Pinter told ABC News. “So he’s able to engage this mob to very quickly harass and target these women.”

“The swift, immediate, massive response to even the smallest bit of news seems completely consistent with how he always operated with getting his content out there,” she added. “It seems to me to be very clear that he’s just engaging that community intentionally.”

When asked for comment on Pinter’s allegations, a spokesperson for the Tate brothers told ABC News in a statement on Thursday: “Andrew and Tristan do not encourage any form of harassment against the alleged victims, or any other individual, as they have stated multiple times in the past via Twitter and other media. They are fully collaborating with the Romanian authorities and they are complying with the conditions of their house arrest. They remain committed to proving their innocence by using all of the legal means at their disposal.”

The spokesperson also pointed to recent Twitter posts from the Tate brothers, in which they told their followers, “Leave personal attacks and insults out of it,” and, “We win with love, not insults.”

Pinter alleged the harassment of her clients has also moved offline. At least two private investigators have knocked on their doors in the U.S., according to Pinter. She said a social media personality sympathetic to Tate had also gone to one of the women’s hometowns and questioned her former romantic partners. Both women have received rape and death threats online as well, according to Pinter.

She said the barrage of attacks is taking a heavy toll on her clients and has prevented them from coming forward publicly.

“They’re really in a tough position,” Pinter told ABC News. “They don’t feel like they can go home. They’re very isolated. One of the victims was telling me, you know, ‘I feel like I can’t get a traditional job because even if any of the co-workers Google my name, they could find out some of this.’ That’s very scary.”

The Tate brothers continue to be active on social media, but have denied directing their huge following to harass their critics and accusers. While making his initial court appearance as a defendant in the Romanian case in June, Tate thanked their supporters and said “we are not the first affluent and wealthy men who have been unfairly attacked.”

A trial date has yet to be set.

Pinter said there was little she could do to stop the online attacks, besides calling them out publicly and urging social media companies to take down the abusive content.

“These women astound me every day,” she added, “because despite being very distressed and experiencing severe mental anguish and being held back from living their lives to the fullest, they are very committed to not backing down.”

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