No internet? No problem! Comedian shouts news to web-deprived Assange (VIDEO)
The comedian who read out the news to Julian Assange after Ecuador cut the WikiLeaks founder’s internet access has told RT of his reasons for the stunt, and his disappointment at not catching a glimpse of the whistleblower.
How to cope with news deprivation if your internet access has been cut? Well, if you’re WikiLeaks co-founder Assange, stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, all you need is a Canadian comedian and a megaphone.
Assange was left without internet last week, after WikiLeaks published yet another batch of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Luckily for Assange, however, London-based comedian Bobby Mair heard of the whistleblower’s misfortune and rushed to help.
On Wednesday morning, Mair showed up outside the Ecuadorian embassy’s front door with a megaphone and a sign on his chest reading “Julian Assange's personal Internet service.” He then proceeded to read out news headlines and pieces of information from across the globe in the direction of Assange's presumed window.
“I wanted to keep [Assange] informed on what was going on, so I went there and I read him his horoscope, and Phil Collins, who’s a popular singer in the UK, is touring again, so I went there and I sang him a Phil Collins song, it has kept him up to date on the news… How Brad Pitt and Angelina are doing with their divorce, things like that,” Mair told RT.
He also read the whistleblower a weather forecast for Assange's Australian home town (not that he has any plans of visiting it, or going outside, for that matter – he's not been able to leave the building for four years now).
Mair filled Assange in on what’s trending on Twitter and Facebook, all the while hoping to get a glimpse of the man. But sadly for him, that didn’t happen.
“I kind of [was] intrigued to see if I could meet him. It’s so interesting when someone is in the news – I mean, is it possible that I can just wake up today and meet this person that everyone in the whole world is talking about? But he didn’t come to the window. So I don’t know… I didn’t get to meet him,” Mair said.
He offered the internet-less WikiLeaks founder tips on ways to fix his access problem, as the WiFi at the embassy did not appear to be disconnected completely, and suggested he try and guess the new password.
“Clearly they still have WiFi, so it means they changed the WiFi password. So I gave him some hints,” Mair said. His ideas included using the name of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, ‘South America’ or ‘yummy coffee’ as password variations.
At the end of his embassy performance, Mair seemed close to a breakdown when he shouted for Assange to come out on the balcony and let him know the information had reached him.
It was, however, all just a stunt – performed as part of his gig for RT UK’s ‘News Thing’ show. Still, Mair’s intentions were honest, as he told RT afterwards.
“I do feel for the man [Assange] in the sense that he decided to take on the US government and it’s not working out for him,” Mair said, dropping his comedian façade for a moment.
It’s still unclear what Assange thought of Mair’s efforts, or whether he even heard his personal ‘internet service.’
The web sure did though, with the video quickly going viral.
The leaked emails, published by WikiLeaks over the past several weeks, have been a major thorn for Clinton’s presidential campaign, which is nearing its climax in some three weeks.
On Tuesday, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry officially acknowledged what it dubbed a “temporary restriction” on Assange's internet access at its embassy in London, and said that while it stands by its 2012 decision to grant Assange asylum, it doesn’t want to interfere with foreign elections.
Shortly after, WikiLeaks accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring Ecuador to cut Assange’s web access and thus stop WikiLeaks from publishing further documents involving Clinton.
Despite Ecuador’s move, and Kerry’s alleged part in it, several new batches of Podesta’s emails have been published on WikiLeaks after Assange lost his internet connection.