Andrew Tate’s humiliating online feud with Greta Thunberg may have led to his dramatic arrest on suspicion of rape and human trafficking just 24 hours later.
The divisive social media personality, 36, and his brother were led away from his Romanian mansion in handcuffs on Thursday.
But the sting may never have taken place if Tate hadn’t posted a taunting comeback to the teenage climate activist on Twitter featuring a Romanian pizza box.
Sources close to the investigation told local news publication Gandul that anti-mafia prosecutors learned the pair were in Romania through their social media activity.
Harvard Law School cyber expert Alejandra Caraballo claimed the pizza box likely gave away the brothers’ location in a viral thread online.
“Romanian authorities needed proof that Andrew Tate was in the country, so they reportedly used his social media posts,” she wrote.
“His ridiculous video yesterday featured a pizza from a Romanian pizza chain, Jerry’s Pizza, confirming he was in the country.”
Tate’s feud with Thunberg began when he tagged her in a post showing off his 33 cars and asking for her address so he could continue to brag about his contribution to pollution.
Accompanying a picture of him filling up his Bugatti, he wrote: “Hello Greta Thunberg. I have 33 cars. My Bugatti has a w16 8.0L quad turbo.
“My TWO Ferrari 812 competizione have 6.5L v12s. This is just the start.”
He went on: “Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions.”
Tate then shared a video compilation of him driving his cars and boarding private jets intercut with Greta’s famous speech at the United Nations in 2019.
But seemingly nonplussed by the barb, Greta replied with a short and sweet message.
“Yes, please do enlighten me. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,” she wrote.
Tate initially responded with a short “How dare you?!” before revising his response to a two-minute unhinged video of him making fun of the use of pronouns and calling her a “slave of the matrix.”
Importantly, the clip featured a recognisable Romanian pizza brand as he joked about refusing to recycle in an effort to further taunt Thunberg.
Ms Carabello revealed that Thunberg’s comeback instantly became one of the most popular in the platform’s history.
“Greta’s tweet has now become one of the top 25 most liked tweets of all time with 2.8 million likes,” the high-profile civil rights lawyer said.
“It could easily hit the top 10 by the weekend. This is absolutely legendary.”
She went on to point out another eerie coincidence.
“It gets even crazier. The Council of Europe through GRETA, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, urged Romania last year to effectively prosecute human trafficking,” Ms Caraballo said.
Controversial influencer Tate initially gained fame after a short-lived appearance on Big Brother.
He was dumped from the reality show after alleged footage of him beating a woman emerged online.
Since then he has sparked revulsion and outrage with a wave of content online.
The Washington DC-born Tate has been accused of spreading hate towards women as he built his profile.
The influencer was banned from Twitter in 2017 for violating its terms of service with his controversial comments.
He has previously referred to women as “property” and said they should bear “some responsibility” if they are sexually assaulted.
In August, Tate was banned from a range of other social media sites.
TikTok banned him for misogyny, while Meta said he violated their policies around “Dangerous Individuals and Organisations”.
He is also banned on YouTube.
Tate has denied accusations of misogyny and claimed that many of his clips are “taken out of context”.
Tate’s Twitter official account has now been reactivated after the takeover by Elon Musk.
Some saw it ironic that Twitter, one of the only platforms facilitating the personality, may have led police to detaining him in Romania.
In a cheeky post, American actor George Takei wrote: “So … Elon Musk let Andrew Tate back on Twitter, and Tate promptly used it to reveal his whereabouts to authorities in Romania who then arrested him.”
“All because Greta Thunberg owned him so hard his little wee-wee fell off. Do I have that right? Please say I have that right,” he continued.