From Hollywood star to footballing ace: Julian Assange’s glamorous guests
A Hollywood actor, an international music star and an ex-footballing great are among the famous faces to have secured an audience with Julian Assange during his years-long fight to avoid extradition.
A meeting with shadow chancellor John McDonnell in Belmarsh Prison follows on from a stream of high-profile visitors who dropped in on the WikiLeaks founder since he first claimed asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012.
Here are a few of notable names on Assange’s guest book:
– Pamela Anderson
Once rumoured to be a love interest of Assange, the former Baywatch star became a semi-regular visitor of the WikiLeaks founder and one of his most high-profile supporters.
She was twice spotted delivering lunch to him at the embassy in October 2016 and February 2017.
The pair reportedly share a passion for human rights, with the actress saying they also discussed politics, family, the media and religion.
After visiting him in prison in 2019, Anderson later claimed Assange had been subjected to “traumatic psychological torture”.
She once described him in her blog as “one of my favourite people” and the “most politicised refugee of our time”.
– John Cusack
The Hollywood actor joined US activist Daniel Ellsberg and Indian-born author and activist Arundhati Roy in meeting Assange at the embassy in December 2014.
At the time, WikiLeaks said the trio were marking the fourth anniversary of Mr Assange being in “detention” without charge.
– Lady Gaga
The American singer and songwriter is said to have first met Assange at the embassy in 2012, after launching a perfume at the nearby Harrods department store.
She has backed his cause since, saying “you may be an enemy of the state but you are not an enemy of humanity” in a video that was released by WikiLeaks to mark Chelsea Manning’s release from prison.
– Eric Cantona
The enigmatic former Manchester United star worked up a sweat when he joined Assange for an exercise session at the embassy in 2014.
According to a picture posted on the WikiLeaks Twitter account, the Frenchman was seen being put through his paces on a treadmill by the WikiLeaks founder as he trained for something described as the Counter Intelligence World Cup.
The picture showed Assange with a towel over his shoulders and a fitness tracker standing next to Cantona.
– Nigel Farage
The former Ukip leader was initially coy about discussing his contact with Assange at the embassy.
Pictures showed him leaving the building in 2017, but when questioned on the images Farage said he kept “all my meetings very private”.
According to the BBC, in January the following year he dismissed claims he had more than one meeting with Assange and had “provided data” to the WikiLeaks founder on a thumb drive.
Farage said the claims made to a US committee were “conspiratorial nonsense”.
– Dame Vivienne Westwood
Wearing a T-shirt bearing the words “I’m Julian Assange”, Dame Vivienne Westwood visited the Australian at the embassy in 2012 after closing a London show.
The fashion designer is a long-standing supporter of Assange and in 2016 took part in a global event that celebrated whistleblowers and freedom of expression and marked the fourth anniversary of his embassy stay.
– The refusal: Benedict Cumberbatch
In October 2013, it was revealed that the British actor was rebuffed when he requested a meeting with Assange to help prepare to portray him on screen.
Assange refused to meet Cumberbatch, who played him in the film The Fifth Estate, because he believed it would only help destroy his organisation.
The WikiLeaks founder claimed the Dreamworks production was based on a “toxic” book and believed the film would “distort events and subtract from public understanding” of his work.