On Tuesday, a month after he was arrested in London and booked into Belmarsh Prison, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had his first visitor: Barb Wire herself, Pamela Anderson.
Wrapped in a Vivienne Westwood-designed cape emblazoned with what appeared to be political messages, the former Baywatch star seemed shaken as she talked to reporters after exiting the facility.
“He does not deserve to be in a super-max prison. He has never committed a violent act. He’s an innocent person,” she said. “He’s a good man, an incredible person. I love him. I can’t imagine what he’s been going through. It was good to see him, great to see him—but this is just misrule of law…an absolute shock. He has not been able to get out of his cell. It’s been one month. It’s going to be a long fight and he deserves our support—he needs our support.”
The actress turned activist might seem like an unlikely candidate to spearhead an exoneration campaign, but she’s been advocating for Assange since at least 2016, when rumors of a romance started swirling.
Assange is being held for conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer in 2010; from 2012 until his arrest, he was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid being extradited to the U.S. He was also accused of sexual assault on two occasions; in one case the statute of limitations expired, and in the other Swedish authorities threw out the case because they couldn’t proceed while Assange was being protected at the embassy.
Back in 2016, in a tweet that got a mere 53 likes, Anderson came out in defense of Assange, saying: “Free Julian Assange (or at least your fucking mind).”
Free Julian Assange (or at least your fucking mind) – Bad Hostess https://t.co/vOhVIIPwxJ
— Pamela Anderson (@pamfoundation) December 7, 2016
Assange and Anderson’s relationship/friendship/whatever has been reported less frequently in the U.S. than it has in the U.K., where she’s visited him on a regular basis over the past several years. The two reportedly met in 2014 after being introduced by Westwood. In 2017 Anderson told a British TV host: “We started seeing each other every month, and now we see each other a lot more regularly.”
Anderson’s website, thepamelaandersonfoundation.org, is a treasure trove of pro-Assange content from other outlets as well as diary entries about her devotion to his cause. In March 2017, in a post titled “My Julian,” Anderson wrote, “Julian Assange is the most intelligent, interesting, and informed man in existence. Yes—I think he’s quite sexy.
“I’ve spent enough time with him, to be absolutely sure of his intentions,” she adds. “They are good ones.”
She then goes on to defend him against the sexual assault accusations, saying, “There is no rape—it is a case of condom or not. It is ridiculous.”
In a more recent post on her site, Anderson links to a petition intended to prevent Assange from being extradited to the U.S., the text of which says that Assange is a victim being persecuted for running afoul of the “American deep state.” “The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West,” the petition says. As of today, it has registered more than 84,000 signatures.