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«Legal Action Threatened By Andrew Tate Against Accuser»

18 February 2023, Saturday
A legal team in the United States has sent a "cease-and-desist" letter to at least one of the women accusing Andrew Tate, a controversial influencer, of rape and human trafficking. The letter, sent by a US law firm on behalf of Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan, threatened to file a $300 million (£249 million) lawsuit against the woman and her parents if she did not retract her statements.

A lawyer for the Tates has stated that they are pursuing legal action for defamation due to false claims made about them. The BBC saw a redacted letter apparently sent on behalf of the brothers which claims that, in April 2022, a third party had falsely stated that they had human trafficked, abused and held someone against their will. Additionally, it is alleged that the false and defamatory statements were also made to the police, the media and another US citizen.

Andrew and Tristan Tate are currently in preventative custody in Romania while the police are investigating them on charges of trafficking and rape, which they both deny.

Benjamin Bull of the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation, who is representing a key witness in the Romanian investigation, said that the letter sent out to the witnesses was intended to do one thing and one thing only: stop them from testifying.

He said, “They want these young ladies to climb into a hole and hide, never come forward [or] describe what they saw and what happened to them. It's clearly an effort to intimidate.”

Lawyers for the Tates have affirmed to the BBC that a letter of cease-and-desist was dispatched in December as a civil action for defamation and slander in the US, but deny any intimidation. Tina Glandian, one of their legal advisors, remarked that there was nothing extraordinary about them seeking legitimate legal claims for defamation. "The fact that [the Tates] are detained at the present is not a reason for them to not pursue their legal rights," she said.

The probe into rape and trafficking accusations is thought to be based, at least partially, on the deposition of six women. So far, no accusations have been laid.

The legal team of the Tate brothers revealed that the two men had lodged criminal complaints in Romania in April last year against two women, with one being the individual who got the cease-and-desist letter in December.

According to Ms Glandian, the criminal complaints were a response to the claims that two females were held against their will by the Tates, which, however, had no proof to back up. Therefore, the Tates hadn't been arrested in April as all they were was the victims of erroneous allegations who were entitled to file legal reports due to the raiding and confiscation of their assets. The outcome of the criminal proceedings is still unclear.

Benjamin Bull, a lawyer who is representing some of the witnesses in the ongoing Tate inquiry, has remarked on the troubling and intimidating effects of the legal action on his clients. Dani Pinter, also part of the legal team, emphasized that it is not just the fear of legal action causing intimidation but rather the online harassment too, citing high-quality videos meant to embarrass the witnesses that are being shared among Tate's followers.

The two alleged victims represented by her are facing death threats and are in hiding, says the attorney. 

"Making really salacious claims, attempting to slut shame them, saying they're liars. But including their private information - for example, their place of work and relatives - with the intent of inciting harassment, has been having its desired effect," she adds.

Prosecutors have been making sure the names of the six women involved in the case remain confidential. Nevertheless, some of them have had their full names revealed on social media.

Andrew and his brother Tate are being held in custody in the United States, and their social media accounts are off limits. However, their large and loyal fanbase keeps posting updates and documents aiming to discredit the testimony of witnesses and other women accusing the Tates. Two witnesses were mentioned in a statement from the Tates' US communications team, but their names have not been made public by the BBC.

Daria Gusa recently recounted to the BBC and others about a private message she received from Andrew Tate's Instagram account when she was only 16 years old. This message conformed to the same approach he had outlined in his public speeches about how best to attract a woman's attention and establish control. 

Gusa's story is an example of how even those who merely skim the surface of this case can become targets. Earlier this week, one of the most active accounts related to the scandal posted the full name, social media handles, and WhatsApp messages of one of the alleged victims involved in the investigation. The BBC has reached out to this account for further comment, but has yet to receive a response.

Daria told me that she received a bunch of messages in response to her story, with most of them accusing her of lying or calling her a slut. But amongst that, she received approximately 10-15 threats online. One of those people even went so far as to contact her and tell her that they knew where she was, as they had seen her schedule posted online. Despite having had contact with him, a number of her friends have chosen not to speak out about their experiences.

"It's not just the people who work for him," she stated emphatically. "Millions of men idolise these people, and would do anything to shield them and sustain their image, so it's totally understandable why so many women are hesitant to speak out."

The real source of some of the most dynamic accounts defending the Tates and the amount of collaboration between them is still unknown.
But the risks for females making accusations against Andrew Tate can be substantial and can come from diverse directions.
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