Eric Cantona, Lady Gaga, and now Pamela Anderson: The famous faces visiting Julian Assange at his embassy lock-in

He may have lost a bid to have his arrest warrant cancelled but at least Julian Assange won't be lonely, says Simon Usborne

The well-known and well-heeled are hardly a rare sight in the red-brick wedge of crescents and squares between the Brompton Road and Sloane Street in London's Knightsbridge, with one-percenters regularly stepping out of their Ferraris into the side doors of Harrod's.

But for the past two years, a building next door to the department store has been the site of a most peculiar parade of celebrities. Pamela Anderson is expected to be the latest famous person to sign the visitors book at the Ecuadorian embassy, where Julian Assange, the quixotic WikiLeaker, has avoided extradition to Sweden since June 2012.

Anderson, of Baywatch fame, will pop in for tea, perhaps, at Assange's specially installed kitchenette, with Vivienne Westwood. Westwood, who knows Anderson through their mutual interest in animal rights activism, has visited before, although, as she says in today's edition of New Statesman magazine, "I haven't been for a bit because I'm so busy. And you can't turn up and just knock on the door."

The fashion designer, like Anderson, is sympathetic to Assange's predicament and is likely to remain so after a Swedish court this week upheld an arrest warrant against him for alleged sexual offences against two women (Assange's lawyers wanted the warrant to be cancelled, and claim the charges are a pretext for handing him over to the US, where he faces possible espionage charges over the leak of classified material in 2010 and 2011).

The unlikely pair will follow in the footsteps of Eric Cantona, another attendant at the strange court of Assange. Footage emerged on Tuesday showing the former footballer engaged in an exercise session with Assange on a treadmill inside his embassy bolthole. Last weekend, the film director Romain Gavras had tweeted a photo of the same scene, in which a sweaty Cantona works out while Assange monitors his efforts. A WikiLeaks spokesman revealed only that they were working on some future collaboration. The treadmill links Cantona and Assange via Ken Loach, the film director, who donated the machine to Assange soon after his confinement so that he could keep fit.

Wiki-chic: Julian Assange with singer Lady Gaga Wiki-chic: Julian Assange with singer Lady Gaga
In 2009, Loach, another visitor to this odd patch of Ecuador in London, made Looking for Eric, which starred Cantona. Other visitors from film have included John Cusack as well as Maggie Gyllenhaal, who came with her husband and fellow actor, Peter Sarsgaard.

It would be odd, perhaps, if Yoko Ono hadn't popped in (she has, bringing along her son, Sean Lennon) while John Pilger is perhaps chief among the sympathetic journalists to have had an audience with Assange. Assange struck celebrity gold in October 2012 when MIA, the rapper and loyal supporter, sent a speculative, public tweet to Lady Gaga, who was in London at the time. "If ur at harrods today, come visit Assange at the Ecuador embassy across the st. im there. ill bring TEA and CAKE," she said. The activist's magnetism was such that Gaga duly followed, later sharing an awkward photo of herself alongside Assange. It's not clear what they talked about before Gaga was seen emerging at midnight after five hours inside.

Read more: Julian Assange gives life advice on Reddit
Julian Assange and Eric Cantona pictured working out together
Swedish court upholds Julian Assange's arrest warrant
Julian Assange to make modelling debut at London Fashion Week

Jemima Khan, once among Assange's most loyal supporters, said last year that she was invited to the embassy for a photo opportunity, but was told Assange was "too busy" to respond to her questions about his legal position. She is among several former supporters who have expressed feelings of alienation towards him, including journalists, activists and lawyers. Celebrities, meanwhile, have tended either to continue their support, or fade away as Assange lost his "leaking" crown to Edward Snowden.

Video: Assange calls US Dept. of Justice statements 'weasel words'

Westwood is resolute and so, too, is her son, who is planning an event strange even by the new standards of this corner of Knightsbridge. Ben Westwood is also a designer and announced last week that he had recruited Assange to model his latest collection during London Fashion Week in September. "I think it was a marketing thing," Vivienne explained. But marketing for whom?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before