The computer “hacktivist” collective known only as “Anonymous” has distanced itself from WikiLeaks over criticisms that boss Julian Assange has sold out to fame and celebrity.
A statement posted to the Anonymous Twitter account AnonymousIRC called WikiLeaks “the one man Julian Assange show”after the website started asking users for payment to access millions of leaked documents.
“The idea behind WikiLeaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise be kept secret by industries and governments. Information we strongly believe the public has a right to know,” said the statement from Anonymous. “But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That’s great for him but not much of our interest. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public.”
Anonymous has long been one of WikiLeaks’ most loyal and vocal supporters, but Assange’s cult-of-personality seems to have gotten in the way of what Anonymous believes is a righteous cause. In the statement, Anonymous told its 285,000 followers that WikiLeaks was an “awesome idea ruined by egos” claiming that the site had abandoned its principles.
“We have been worried about the direction WikiLeaks is going for a while. In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange. It goes without saying that we oppose any plans of extraditing Julian to the USA. He is a content provider and publisher, not a criminal.”
Without Anonymous at his side, Julian Assange’s support base is rapidly approaching zero.