Julian Assange just told the BBC, "Capable, generous men don't create victims, they try and save people from becoming victims." He also said his accusers had "unprotected sex and they got into a tizzy about" STDs. Generous, indeed!
In his BBC and Times of London interviews, Assange didn't quite get to the part where the women say they had unprotected sex against their will, that one was first pinned down when she tried to get a condom and then believed Assange had intentionally damaged it, and that the second insisted on a condom but woke up to find him penetrating her without one.
He told the BBC that the women's concerns about unprotected sex and tracking him down to take an HIV test was a "ridiculous thing to go to the police about," but that he left open the possibility that they were being "bamboozled" by the police into pressing charges. "These women may be victims in this process," he said. As for the claim by his lawyer that the women were part of some CIA-arranged "honeytrap," Assange claimed his lawyer said he'd been misquoted.
So why won't he go back to Sweden to be questioned? (Swedish prosecutors have refused to question him remotely, to which he says he has offered to submit.) "I do not need to go and speak to random prosecutors around the world who simply want to have a chat and won't do it in any other standard way," he said. (The interviewer remarked on his use of the word chat, "That rather belittles what this is all about.")
Assange said he had Googled himself, and about 30 million of his 40 million Google results include the word "rape." "So this has been a very successful smear," he said, adding that it was "a very beneficial position, if you can be martyred without dying."
The BBC interviewer said, "you assaulted [the women] in ways that they did not want to be assaulted," and then pressed Assange further on the point:
Q: Are you a sexual predator?
JA: That's ridiculous. Of course not.
Q: How many women have you slept with?
JA: That's a private business. Not only does a gentleman not tell, not only does a gentleman like to talk about his private life, a gentleman certainly doesn't count.
Q: Many, without being specific?
JA: I've never had a problem before with women. Women have been extremely helpful and generous.
Q: Not quite the question I asked you.
JA: No, women have been extremely helpful and generous and put up with me. But…
Q: Does put up with you mean having you in their beds?
And so on. Oh, and he said he found the electronic ankle bracelet for his house arrest in an English mansion "emasculating."
Assange, who just got a book deal, also told the Times he's angry at the Guardian for publishing the details of the complaints against him. Bizarrely, the reporter for the Guardian (which was one of the lead partners for Wikileaks' most recent efforts) is "said to be a friend of Assange's," who helped broker the agreement. Couldn't they have found someone else to write that up?
A Guardian editor told Yahoo News' Cutline that the reporter "left out a lot of graphic and damaging material in the allegations because he thought it would be too cruel to publish them." Unclear if that means cruel to Assange or to his accusers.
Transcript: The Assange Interview [BBC]
Julian Assange: I Feel At Peace [BBC]
Wikileaks' Assange Fires Back At The Guardian To Competitor [Yahoo Cutline]
Earlier: Read The Full Sex Crime Allegations Against Julian Assange