Christine Assange, the mother of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, was due to speak about her son with an Australian Sunday morning radio host when things went terribly wrong.
After hearing John-Michael Howson shout down the previous guest, Wikileaks Australian Alliance cofounder Sam Castro, and subject her to what Assange later described as “a torrent of verbal abuse,” Assange told him, “I won’t be doing an interview with you because you’re acting like a pig.”
Howson then began screaming, “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!” and Assange hung up on him.
Howson claimed afterwards that he had reacted the way he had because Assange was attempting to censor him. “She comes on and says to me she’s not going to talk about — that to me shows her trying to censor me,” he insisted. “I’m not going to be censored by her, so I said, ‘Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!’ … it’s a Nazi mentality by these people.”
“The behaviour was unprofessional, immature and piggish,” Assange commented. “To suggest that I was a Nazi for not allowing him to just give his point of of view is bizarre. He did not allow for free debate, he used his position to bully and personally abuse Sam Castro.”
Howson is well-known in Australia for his on-air outbursts. Last year, there were calls for his firing after he screamed at his co-host, “You dominate this show. You over-talk everybody. You over-talk the listeners. You’ve got the bloody producers up your backside doing everything you want them to do.”
He then went on to tell his producer, “Up yours, darling. … Silly little girls masquerading as bloody producers.”
Photo of Christine Assange by Presidencia de la República del Ecuador via Flickr