Late-Night Hosts Weigh In on Julian Assange's "Crazy" Arrest
"In just a few years he went from Bond villain to crowd-surfing Hobbit," 'Daily Show' host Trevor Noah joked about the WikiLeaks co-founder's new look.
Late-night hosts took on Julian Assange's dramatic arrest on Thursday.
The WikiLeaks co-founder was arrested in London on Thursday, following seven years of living in political refuge at the British capital's Ecuadorian embassy. Later that day, U.S. authorities charged him with conspiring to hack into government computers.
London's Met Police said the arrest was made over Assange's failure to surrender to the court and for breaking his bail conditions by entering the embassy in 2012.
Late Night host Seth Meyers said that Assange "was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy looking like Santa Claus with a manifesto." A photo of Assange sporting a white beard during the arrest was then featured onscreen. '"You're all naughty! I have it on my list,'" Meyers joked.
"Based on that treatment, I can't wait to see what Assange writes on the Ecuador embassy's Airbnb page," he continued.
Meyers then explained that Ecuador had revoked Assange's right to seek refuge in their embassy, which allowed the U.K. authorities to arrest him. Meyers said that Assange took issue with the embassy's new policies, including that he had to clean up after himself and take care of his cat. He later took the embassy to court.
"He took them to court over his cat," said Meyers. "Usually people go to court to get restraining orders against their cats. 'Please, your honor, he keeps glaring at me like he wants to kill me.'"
The host added that it's OK to think Assange is a "creep" while also being worried about what his arrest means for freedom of the press. "One person who's always been very clear about where he stands on WikiLeaks is Donald Trump and yet, when Trump was asked today about WikiLeaks — which he repeatedly praised throughout his 2016 presidential campaign — he pretended he didn't know anything about it," said Meyers.
A recent clip of Trump being asked if he still liked WikiLeaks followed. He answered, "I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing."
"How can you say WikiLeaks is not your thing? Your government just arrested a guy whose organization you repeatedly praised throughout the campaign and you're acting like someone just offered you weed at a party," said the host.
Over on The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah called Assange "Draco Malfoy's biological father" before he shared the news of his arrest.
He said that the arrest was "embarrassing" and pointed out that Assange was physically carried out of the embassy by the police. "They carried him out of the embassy like he was an old couch," he joked. "It's just like, 'All right, all right. Watch the corners.'"
Noah also commented on Assange's new look. "In just a few years he went from Bond villain to crowd-surfing Hobbit," he said.
The host explained that Assange was arrested for trying to hack into a Defense Department computer in 2010. "In 2010 it was really difficult to hack the government's system because the password was 'password1,'" joked Noah.
He next touched on the reports that Assange's asylum was lifted because he was a bad houseguest. In addition to his messy cat, Assange allegedly skateboarded around the embassy and stole Wi-Fi passwords.
"The first thing I need to know is why the hell was Julian Assange skateboarding in the hallways of an embassy and stealing their Wi-Fi?" he asked. "It makes him sound less like a political dissident and more like a shitty teenager."
"As for that cat, the most disturbing thing about the story is somehow not the fact that Assange allowed it to shit all over the embassy. No, it's that every day he'd dress that poor thing up in a tie and collar," he said. "If I worked in the Ecuadorian embassy, that would be my sign that Assange was losing it."
Noah added that many people fear that Assange's arrest will lead to a dangerous precedent.
"This really is an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, pretty much everyone hates Assange. Partly because he looks like the creepy stepdad in every porno," said Noah. "But on the other hand, many people aren’t happy about him getting arrested because they worry this could open the door to journalists getting arrested for leaking government secrets." He then added that journalists getting arrested is "Trump's wet dream."
"The big mystery to me is, it feels like somebody on the inside must have done something to sabotage Assange. Someone whom he trusted. Someone who had a reason to betray him," said Noah. "I guess we'll never know who it was." A clip then played insinuating that Assange's cat was the one who turned on the WikiLeaks co-founder.
Jimmy Fallon also touched on Assange's arrest during The Tonight Show.
"He's facing a pretty rough punishment. They're gonna make him Trump's new Secretary of Homeland Security," Fallon joked.
The host then caught his viewers up on the "crazy" story. After he shared a photo of Assange during the arrest, he suggested that Assange get a makeover. "He needs to be extradited to the set of Queer Eye," he said.
Fallon also compared photos of Assange from 2012 and of him from Thursday. "He went in looking like Draco Malfoy. He came out looking like Dumbledore," he said.