Julian Assange on WikiLeaks movie: "It is a massive propaganda attack"

The founder says "The Fifth Estate" "fans the flames to start a war with Iran"

By Prachi Gupta
Published January 25, 2013 12:00AM (UTC)
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As the question of truth in film continues to dominate Hollywood by way of "Zero Dark Thirty," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spoken out against "The Fifth Estate," saying "It is a lie upon lie. The movie is a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff."

Although the movie isn't set to premiere until November, Assange has obtained a copy of the script--and doesn't approve. From within London's Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange remains in hiding, he connected with Oxford University students via Internet and slammed the film, which allegedly contains scenes regarding a nuclear weapons program in Iran. "How does this have anything to do with us?... How is it that a lie gets into a script about WikiLeaks?" he asked. He called the scenes "an attack against us [WikiLeaks]" as well as "an attack against Iran." "It fans the flames to start a war with Iran," he said.

The statements have already prompted director Bill Condon to defend the film: "It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it's revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked."

The movie stars "Sherlock's" Benedict Cumberbatch as a younger Assange and chronicles the rise of the subsersive organization and subsequent rift between Assange and colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The screenplay, by "West Wing" and "Law & Order: SVU" writer Josh Singer, is partially based on books by  Domscheit-Berg and British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.



Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Iran Julian Assange Propaganda The Fifth Estate Truth In Film Wikileaks Zero Dark Thirty