If you are a woman and come within smelling-distance of him, magic secret-sharing gnome Julian Assange will hit on you in excruciatingly awkward fashion. A new eBook offers another prime example of Assange's Casanova act.
Journalist and transparency advocate Heather Brooke reported on Assange and Wikileaks during Wikileaks' preparation for the release of a quarter-million classified State Department cables in 2010. Judging from excerpts of her newly released eBook, Assange Agonistes, they did not exactly have a traditional journalist-source relationship.
Brooke writes of Assange:
When he has his eyes on me - as he did just now when he was saying that fear exists largely in our own minds - I have the sense he's looking right into my soul. The teenage girl in me swoons madly, but the investigative journalist concludes that the detached/intense thing is a technique he's honed after years of practice to get people to open up and five away their secrets. I have to admit it's pretty effective.
But her infatuation with Assange quickly dried up after he lays this egg of a come-on:
He sighs. "I just have so much to do."
"Yeah, it's a tough life being a messiah." I joke. There's a pause.
"Will you be my Mary Magdalene, Heather? And bathe my feet at the cross?"
This is a new one on me and now it's my turn to pause. What does a person say to such a question? At that time I did genuinely like Julian. When I'd met him at the conference he was like a bolt of lightning. But even so - foot-bathing? I'd reached a point with Julian where the personal and the professional had begun to blur. He's the world's most famous leaker; I'm a freedom of information campaigner, so we've a lot to talk about. But he was unsettling, even bafflingly, unaware of any notion of personal boundaries.
Seems that revelations of Assange's weird seduction method has struck a nerve at Wikileaks HQ. They posted a tweet a few hours ago decrying the "opportunists who constantly invent libels against Wikileaks and its people." Dude, Julian, it's OK. She's just not that into you.
[Images via Getty]