LONDON - Flaunting his bulging muscles, cigars and fast cars, Andrew Tate's videos posted on social media fascinate millions of teenage boys.
Giving tips on how to be successful along with misogynist and sometimes violent maxims, the 36-year-old Briton has said women cannot be independent and blames those who are raped or assaulted.
His controversial output has made him one of the world's best-known influencers.
The former kickboxing champion has been behind bars in Romania since December, as authorities there investigate him and his brother for alleged human trafficking and rape.
However, an appeals court on Friday ordered that he be moved to house arrest.
Tate has denied any wrongdoing and is continuing to dispense his wisdom on Twitter, where he has 4.8 million followers.
"We will all disappear one day. The difference between me and most is that when I disappear the world still feels my presence", he wrote earlier this year.
In 2022, the words "Andrew Tate" were among the most searched on Google. But many adults only learnt of his existence in recent months, despite his influence on young men in the English-speaking world and beyond.
He went viral in December after he launched a bizarre Twitter attack on climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
"Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions", he wrote to her, posting a photo of him filling a Bugatti with petrol.
Thunberg's crushing reply referencing his "smalldickenergy" was retweeted over 570,000 times.
Tate was born in the United States in 1986 and has US citizenship, according to his website.
But after his parents separated, he grew up with his mother and brother in Luton, an economically depressed town north of London. He has lived in Romania for several years.
Before his rise to fame on social media and subsequent arrest, Tate was a professional kickboxer who gained the title of world champion.
- Multi-millionaire -
He first came to wider attention by appearing as a contestant on the "Big Brother" reality show in the UK in 2016. But he was quickly ejected after a video emerged showing him hitting a woman.
After that he focused on building his online presence.
In August last year, he was banned from social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, for misogynist messages.
His Twitter account was allowed back, however, after Elon Musk bought the company.
Tate founded the so-called Hustler's University, where he promises to teach paying students "the secrets that ONLY the wealthiest people know".
Tate and his brother Tristan were once "broke as a joke" but are now "self-made multi-millionaires", he writes on his site.
He runs a paid social networking platform called his "war room", whose "mission" he describes as helping "all men to become the very best versions of themselves".
"All men should be strong", he repeatedly states.
However, his comments on women have proved the most controversial.
"There's no such thing as an independent female", he said in a podcast. "Unless she has a man directing her. She's gonna fuck it up".
He also said: "I'm a realist and when you're a realist, you're sexist".
He describes how he would hit a woman who accused him of cheating on her and says that women who are assaulted or raped are to blame.
But his Twitter messages since his arrest have been very different.
He now quotes Nelson Mandela and the Koran. Having declared himself an atheist, he said in October that he had converted to Islam.
In January he appeared in court in Bucharest in handcuffs, carrying a book that appeared to be the Koran.
He indicated on Twitter on March 23 that he was observing Ramadan, during which Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.
He wrote that when he was given food "I spend my entire day destroying the flies and ants who get close to the meal" until the sun goes down when "in accordance" with Ramadan, "I eat the stone cold food in my cell by myself."