Playboy model and TV actress Pamela Anderson has delivered a punishing smackdown to Meghan McCain in a heated exchange on The View over the plight WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
In her first TV appearance since visiting Assange in jail in May, Anderson defended the transparency activist from attacks by McCain, one of the co-hosts of The View and the hawkish daughter of the late US Senator John McCain.
“He’s obviously ruffled the feathers of a lot of very powerful people, and powerful people want to keep him quiet,” Anderson said, kicking off her bout with the host.
A known critic of the transparency activist, McCain had no kind words for Assange, who she called a “cyber terrorist” who “put our national security at risk” with his publications of classified material.
“You know who put our national security at risk? The military,” Anderson fired back, adding “How many people has the American government killed innocently, and how many has WikiLeaks?” drawing a roar of applause from the studio audience.
There are war crimes that need to be punished and they haven’t – the war crimes that he’s exposed, no one’s done anything about it – but they put him in jail to shut him up.
McCain switched gears to personal insults, claiming Assange was kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for “defecating everywhere” and “creating messes,” arguing there was video to prove it. No such footage has ever been produced, however, while Assange’s lawyer has rejected the claim as “outrageous.”
Anderson dismissed the argument as part of a “smear campaign.”
Asked whether Assange’s leaks – the Iraq and Afghan war diaries, published in 2010 – put US spies or diplomats in danger, Anderson noted that the alleged harms to undercover assets have never been borne out by the facts, adding that she considered whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden “heroes.”
Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg took over the conversation for some moments, engaging in a relevant and moderate debate with Anderson. As the time ran out, McCain went into one last shouting attack.
“He’s a cyber terrorist! I’ll say it. I’ll say it! I’m not going to stand by this. It’s ridiculous,” she said.
To this American media darling, apparently, a free and adversarial publisher like Assange is just a step too far.