Pamela Anderson Defends Julian Assange in Op-Ed: 'Don't Blame Julian for Your Own Defeat'
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange was arrested in April after living in asylum for seven years
In an op-ed for the Daily Beast published Thursday, Anderson, 51, writes that Assange has been made a “scapegoat” for President Donald Trump‘s election win and that the WikiLeaks founder is being unfairly “persecuted and jailed.”
Assange, 47, was arrested in April after living in asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years. He was arrested on a minor warrant related to a 2012 failure to surrender to the court, but he also faces extradition to the United States for alleged “computer-related offenses.”
WikiLeaks has been criticized for releasing damaging emails about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, which American authorities believe were first stolen by Russians. (Assange has disputed Russia was his source.)
In her op-ed, Anderson writes that releasing the emails did not mean the election was “rigged” in favor of Trump.
“No one interfered with the right of voters to inform themselves freely, choose their own candidate, and make their vote count — not Julian, not WikiLeaks, and not even the Russians,” she says.
The Baywatch actress continues: “The only thing that happened is that the disclosure of true information about a candidate‘s character and conduct hurt her campaign and may well have caused her defeat. So what? That’s democracy. Stop whining and grow up!”
Anderson goes on to say that, while Assange “may have influenced the election,” he did not “interfere with it” — and defends his releasing of the emails as “what investigative journalists do.”
“Was Julian entitled to publish true information, even if harmful to one of the candidates? Yes, he was, whether we like it or not,” she writes. “Does it matter who were his sources? No, it doesn’t, whether we like it or not.”
The actress and model concludes by writing: “Once we are wise, strong and dignified enough not to shoot the messenger, but to welcome him as our teacher, only then can we govern without being corrupted by power, in service to our community.”
Earlier this month, Anderson visited Assange at Belmarsh Prison in London.
“Obviously it’s been very difficult to see Julian here and to make our way through the prison to get to him was quite shocking and difficult,” she told reporters afterward, according to CNN. “He does not deserve to be in a super-max prison… He is an innocent person.”Soon after the visit, she also wrote a letter addressing the situation and shared it to Twitter.
“He is treated as the most dangerous man in order to make him a criminal without him ever having done anything whatever wrong,” the note read, in part. “People don’t even know why they’re mad at him. They say he’s bad. Justice depends on public opinion.”
After his April arrest — which occurred after the Ecuadorian Embassy withdrew its asylum — Anderson tweeted, “He looks very bad. How could you Equador? … How could you U.K.?”
Anderson has long been a friend and supporter of Assange and was first spotted visiting him in October 2016.
A month later, her publicist told PEOPLE in a statement that the star had visited him multiple times, and “likes to make him smile.”
When asked about the nature of their relationship in April 2017, Anderson told PEOPLE: “I understand that our ‘affair’ and the curiosity surrounding that might bring some attention to his situation. That’s fine, but I’d rather not go into private details. Let’s just say everyone deserves love.”