How much would you pay for an interview with Julian Assange, Wikileaks' founder and current undisputed world record-holder for Most Consecutive Days Spent In London's Ecuadorian Embassy? $58 seems fair. But Assange asked filmmaker Alex Gibney for $1 million to be interviewed for his new Wikileaks documentary We Steal Secrets, according to Gibney.
Jon Wiener: Any film about Wikileaks has to make interviewing Julian Assange task number one. You worked hard on that, and finally you met with him to discuss an interview. How did that go?
Alex Gibney: Not so well. I tried over the course of a year and a half to get the interview. He’d already been interviewed by practically everyone on the planet. Finally we had a six hour meeting. He told me that the market rate for an interview was a million dollars. I told him I don’t pay for interviews. He said “That’s too bad, in that case you might do something else for me.” He wanted me to spy on our other interview subjects—which I found a rather odd request from someone concerned about source protection. So I never did get the interview with Julian Assange.
This absurd request can probably be explained by the fact that Wikileaks desperately needs the cash. Donations to Wikileaks have slowed to a trickle, thanks in part to a blockade by U.S.. financial institutions against the organization and also the fact the organization has basically been reduced to a popular Twitter account as Julian Assange languishes in Ecuador's London Embassy in an attempt to avoid rape charges in Sweden.
Update: Wikileaks' official twitter account points to Wikileaks' extensive annotation of the We Steal Secrets transcript, in which Wikileaks denies that Assange asked Gibney for $1 million for an interview. From the annotation:
Julian Assange did not say the market rate for an interview with him was $1 million dollars and Alex Gibney did not decline. This section deliberately distorts the final, lengthy negotiation between Julian Assange and Alex Gibney regarding his and WikiLeaks' possible participation in the documentary, which at the time was unnamed.