WikiLeaks Demands Journalists Stop Reporting Julian Assange Smells Bad

Julian Assange (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
January 7, 2019

WikiLeaks sent an email to reporters Sunday demanding they stop reporting a number of "falsehoods" about founder Julian Assange, including claims that he's a Russian asset and has bad hygiene.

The WikiLeaks email was unprompted and contained 140 different statements about Assange that are "false and defamatory," according to Reuters.

Despite WikiLeaks' bread and butter being the publication of confidential and off-the-record documents, the organization labeled the email "CONFIDENTIAL LEGAL COMMUNICATION. NOT FOR PUBLICATION." But after journalists started openly reporting on the emails' contents, the WikiLeaks Twitter account posted what they claimed was the "full doc."

"It is clear that there is a pervasive climate of inaccurate claims about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, including purposeful fabrications planted in otherwise 'reputable' media outlets," the WikiLeaks email complains. "In several instances these fabrications appear to have the intent of creating political cover for his censorship, isolation, expulsion, arrest, extradition and imprisonment."

Many of the supposedly "false and defamatory" statement have to do with charges related to Assange's relationship with Russia and his alleged role in the 2016 Russian election interference. Among other things, WikiLeaks scolds reporters not to report that Assange "has ever been contacted by the Mueller investigation," is "'in league' with Russia," or "has ever worked for, or has ever been employed by ... the Russian government."

But WikiLeaks deleted many of the entries in the original email when it reposted it online, including:

"It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange filed a lawsuit or any other measure against Ecuador over his pet cat, laundry or cleaning"

"It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange bleaches his hair."

"It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange has ever walked into embassy meeting rooms in his underwear."

"It is false and defamatory to suggest that Ecuador asked Julian Assange to improve his hygiene."

"It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange stinks."

The complaints stem from reporting by the International Business Times and the Guardian that Assange is often at odds with his hosts at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London over his behavior and lack of hygiene, to the extent that the embassy reportedly threatened to cut off his Internet access.

But even Assange's friends tell the media that he has bad hygiene. "I've seen him sleep on couches and under tables, and unless the people around him force him into the shower, he might not change his clothes for days," one friend told the Guardian.

"Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life," one of his closest aides told IBT.

Published under: Journalists , Wikileaks