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?

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?