"Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism," Julian Assange has said in a recent interview. "I fell into a hornets' nest of revolutionary feminism." And there's something the Guardian left out of its report on the accusations against him.
The knee-jerk defense of Assange against sexual assault charges has often hinged on painting Sweden as a haven for feminists gone amok, and now we see Assange himself eagerly seizing on that narrative.
He's also perfectly willing to argue that because they were interested in having sex with him, they had consented to everything. Assange told The Sunday Times Of London that Ms. A let him stay in her apartment for days and hosted a party for him, and Ms. W came to lunch wearing (and this is a newspaper paraphrase) a "revealing pink cashmere sweater, flirted with him, and took him home."
According to the paper — presumably drawing on unpublished portions of the police report — when she woke up to find him penetrating her, she asked him if he was "wearing anything." He allegedly replied, "I am wearing you."
(The Guardian, which first published portions of the police report, left this out; the reporter who did so originally brokered the deal with Wikileaks and has been described as a friend of Assange's, and his own editor said he had "left out a lot of graphic and damaging material in the allegations because he thought it would be too cruel to publish them.")
There may be more in Assange's forthcoming memoir, which, with the Knopf deal in the States and various foreign rights, will net him $1.5 million. "I don't want to write this book, but I have to," he said in the Times interview. "I have already spent £200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."
But for now, Assange has yet to be quoted actually engaging the crux of the women's complaints against him, which is that while they wanted to have sex with him, they expressly did not want to have unprotected sex with him. Why is it so hard for him to understand that the women may have wanted to engage in some sexual activity with him, but on their terms? That one may have wanted to flirt in a "revealing" sweater but not have unprotected sex? That what he attributes to jealousy that they weren't the only women he'd slept with on that trip was actually the realization that they were at greater risk than they'd even thought?
Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer for the women, late last week described Assange's approach to the case as "very upsetting." He told the AP Thursday, "He's been spreading false rumors that he knows are untrue. It's reckless against these two women. They, too, are supporters of WikiLeaks. They support its work."
Clearly, they haven't gotten the memo that if you raise concerns about the charismatic leader of a project, you must be a CIA tool.
Update: He also claims one of the women took a "trophy photo" of him naked in her bed. So yeah, she must be making it all up.
Wikileaks Founder Baffled By Sex Assault Claims [The Australian]
Assange's Accusers Are WikiLeaks Fans, Lawyer Says [AP]