"I have seen a human side of him that hasn't been represented in the press."
-- Vaughan Smith, libertarian founder of the Frontline Club, on his permanent houseguest, Julian Assange. Smith, who has harbored the Wikileaks founder at his family's 10-bedroom estate in the British countryside since Assange posted bail after his arrest last December, told the Daily Beast why he's welcome there:
He is incredibly popular with my children, who see him as sort of an uncle figure. He's somebody who gives you time. He's odd, because in some regards he's a team player, and in other regards he's not a team player, insofar as you know he's always very firm about his own views and doesn't necessarily change them very often, and you can have rows with him. But he's somebody who will listen to you, and he's somebody who will give you time and give you attention and help you.
You can't understate the importance of this, he's damn good company over a glass of wine. He's damn good company. He's one of these people who spend his whole life trying to be a walking encyclopedia, so he'll always have a view of something."
Smith's description of living with Assange is starkly different from friends of former "Colbert Report" head writer Allison Silverman, who let Assange crash on their couch for a few days. According to their account, Assange ate their leftovers, brought random women home and wouldn't make room on the couch for others--in other words, a terrible houseguest.
Silverman later reenacted their story in a YouTube video:
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- Vaughan Smith