Former model and “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has hit out at the Australian Prime Minister for laughing off her plea to have detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange brought back to his home country.
Anderson lambasted the Australian leader for his “smutty remarks,” which “trivialized and laughed about the suffering of an Australian and his family” in an open letter posted on her website and published in the Daily Beast over the weekend.
Her comments follow an interview earlier this month with Australia’s 60 Minutes in which she had pleaded with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to facilitate the return of Assange to Australia.
60 Minutes reported that Anderson and Assange have become close — she described their relationship to the news program as “a romantic struggle” — and she remains a vocal supporter of the activist. She has reportedly been visiting him in the Ecuadorean embassy, where he remains following an asylum request granted in 2012, for the last two years.
Morrison rejected Anderson’s entreaty, but said that he had “plenty of mates who have asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort out the issue with Pamela,” during an appearance on a local Australian radio station.
In her letter, Anderson said that the response was “disappointing,” and the dismissal included “smutty, unnecessary comments about a woman voicing her political opinion. We all deserve better from our leaders, especially in the current environment.”
Morrison has not responded to the open letter.
In the 60 Minutes interview, Anderson admitted to not knowing Morrison’s name, “at the moment… because he’s new.” Morrison became Australia’s sixth Prime Minister in 10 years in August.
When told his name, Anderson addressed the premier directly.
“OK, well, Scott, defend your friend, and get Julian his passport back, and take him back to Australia and be proud of him. And throw him a parade when he gets home.”
Australian political figures took to Twitter to support Anderson — if not necessarily her cause.
“I don’t agree with Ms. Anderson’s views on Assange — but she’s right about one thing: it’s high time men, including @ScottMorrisonMP stopped using a woman’s sexuality & appearance to denigrate her political arguments,” Labour Party New South Wales Senator Kristina Keneally wrote.
Assange, an Australian citizen, has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, effectively under house arrest, since facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. Those charges have since been dropped but fears remain that he will be extradited to the US.
He’s also wanted by British authorities for jumping bail, when he absconded to Ecuador’s diplomatic mission in London’s Knightsbridge six years ago.
Earlier in November, a court filing mistakenly revealed US government efforts to criminally charge the WikiLeaks founder.
CNN reported in April 2017 that US authorities prepared charges to seek Assange’s arrest, citing US officials familiar with the matter. But no charges were ever announced, and Assange remained holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been for years.
Since then, Assange’s status has remained in question, but his welcome in the embassy and by the government of Ecuador has worn thin.
In 2016 the UNHCR’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that “the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” and called for his release.