Ich gehe auf die Straße - DIE ZEIT

Eine Strandikone für Europa: Pamela Anderson, 52, unterstützt DiEM25, die Partei des griechischen Ex-Finanzministers Yanis Varoufakis. © Emily Berl/The New York Times/Redux/laif

Eine Strandikone für Europa: Pamela Anderson, 52, unterstützt DiEM25, die Partei des griechischen Ex-Finanzministers Yanis Varoufakis. © Emily Berl/The New York Times/Redux/laif

Früher war sie »Baywatch«-Star und Playmate, jetzt kämpft sie gegen Klimawandel und Faschisten. Ein Gespräch mit der Schauspielerin Pamela Anderson über den EU-Wahlkampf, linke Theorie und die wachsende Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich

Vor mittlerweile 27 Jahren wurde die Schauspielerin Pamela Anderson als Rettungsschwimmerin in der Fernsehserie »Baywatch« berühmt (zu Höchstzeiten weltweit 1,1 Mil liar den Zuschauer pro Folge). Bis heute hält sie den Playmate- Re kord: 14 Mal posierte sie hüllenlos auf dem »Playboy«-Cover, und das »Guinness Buch« führte sie vier Jahre lang als »meist erwähn te Frau im Internet«. Vor zehn Jahren dann löste ein Paparazzi-Foto ein ganz neues Interesse an ihr aus. Zu sehen war sie, wie sie sich auf einem Holzsteg in Malibu sonnte und dabei das Buch »Unmarketable« der Kulturkritikerin Anne Elizabeth Moore las. Moore untersucht darin die Versuche großer Firmen, den Underground zu kommerzialisieren. Anderson, die viele bis dahin als Gesicht einer unkritischen Unterhaltungsindustrie sahen, las also das Buch einer feministischen Punkerin. Vor zwei Jahren hörte man dann, dass Anderson sich nicht mehr nur für die Rechte von Tieren einsetzt, sondern auch für den damals in der ecuadorianischen Botschaft in
London festsitzenden Wiki Leaks- Grün der Julian As sange, den sie regelmäßig besuchte. Seither häufen sich ihre politischen Interventionen: So kritisiert sie mit Rückgriff auf Herbert Marcuse Polizeigewalt in Frankreich, wo sie seit Jahren lebt, und ergreift Partei für Flüchtlinge und gegen Rechtspopulisten. Die ersten Anfragen für ein ZEIT-Interview versandeten vor Monaten noch im Nichts der PR-Agenturen, doch nun ergab sich plötzlich eine Möglichkeit für ein Interview via Textnachricht und Videotelefonie. Denn Pamela Anderson, mancher mag es kaum glauben, mischt im Europa-Wahlkampf mit. Auch in Deutschland ist sie auf den Plakaten einer neuen Partei zu sehen: DiEM25.

DIE ZEIT: Sie wurden berühmt als Play mate und Baywatch-Schauspielerin. Nun zitieren Sie in Interviews und bei Podiumsdiskussionen Denker wie den Kulturanthropologen Phi lippe Bour gois. Wann haben Sie angefangen, linke Theorien zu lesen?

Pamela Anderson: Das empfinde ich geradezu als beleidigende Frage. Ich lese schon seit Kindertagen. Ich hatte immer ein Buch in der Hand, meine Eltern sind auch große Leser. Es ist ein Teil meines Lebens. Zu meiner Schulzeit habe ich mich mit psychologischer Literatur beschäftigt, habe Märchen interpretiert. Ich musste gar nicht erst anfangen, linke Theorie zu lesen, um herauszufinden, dass etwas grundlegend falsch ist am Kapitalismus. Ich habe das während meines verrückten Lebens gelernt. Es gibt eine direkte Verbindung zwischen dem Schlachten von Tieren und dem Klimawandel. Es ist alles mit ein ander verbunden. Und das gegenwärtige, Kapitalismus genannte System schafft noch mehr Leid und Ungerechtigkeit für die Menschen, die Tiere und den Planeten.

ZEIT: Was haben Sie zuletzt gelesen?

Anderson: Das Buch von Yanis Varoufakis, in dem er seiner Tochter die Wirtschaft erklärt. Es ist ein fantastisches Buch, das die Zusammenhänge zwischen der Finanzwirtschaft und dem Klimawandel aufzeigt. Ich habe es auch meinen Söhnen geschenkt.

ZEIT: Sie sind eine kanadische Schauspielerin, machen jetzt aber zur Europawahl Werbung in Deutschland für DiEM25, die Partei von Yanis Varoufakis und dem kroatischen Philosophen Srećko Horvat. Wie kam es dazu?

Anderson: Das ist echter Internationalismus. Ein Kleinstadtmädchen aus Kanada lebte den sogenannten American Dream, bis sie nach Südfrankreich floh auf der Suche nach Vernunft und möglicherweise nach Liebe – wenn es die noch gibt –, um jetzt, ja, Wahlkampf in Deutschland und ganz Europa zu machen. Die Welt ist klein. Und es geht um ein weltweites Anliegen: den Klimawandel, der keine Ländergrenzen kennt. Deutschland muss hier Anführer sein. DiEM25 ist die einzige Partei, die einen Green New Deal anbietet, der Deutschland zu einem Anführer des grünen Wandels machen würde. Nicht nur, indem Deutschland selbst zu hundert Prozent auf saubere Energie umstellt, sondern auch durch massive Investitionen in ganz Europa. So könnte die schädliche Kluft zwischen Deutschland und dem Süden Europas geschlossen werden. Das Problem sind nicht die Flüchtlinge, das Problem ist der Klimawandel. Laut den jüngsten Umfragen begreifen die Deutschen das auch. Und deshalb könnte Deutschland einen historischen Wandel einleiten.

ZEIT: Sie kritisieren die gegenwärtige Politik in Europa. Was ist das Problem?

Anderson: Es ist der Mangel an Integration. Der Mangel an Solidarität. Der Mangel an grünen Investitionen. Der Mangel an Visionen. Ich glaube an ein Europa, das auch einmal ein Traum war. Und das heute noch immer ein Traum für viele Menschen ist, die hierher flüchten. Vielleicht sind sie die Einzigen, die noch an diesen Traum glauben. Und DiEM25.

ZEIT: Wofür genau machen Sie da Wahlkampf?

Anderson: Ich werbe für einen Green New Deal und für Menschen, die nicht nur an Ämter wollen, um Old-School-Politik zu machen. Es ist sexy und bereitet Spaß. Und es gibt Deutschland und Europa ein wenig Hoffnung zurück.

ZEIT: Sie kritisieren auch den Aufstieg der Rechten, zitieren Umberto Ecos Theorie eines Ur-Faschismus, um den Erfolg von Matteo Salvini zu erklären.

Anderson: Es ist nicht nur Salvini. Es ist Trump. Es ist Bolsonaro. Überall auf der Welt kann man den gefährlichen Rutsch in den Faschismus, oder wie auch immer Sie das nennen wollen, beobachten. Den Hass gegen die Ausländer. Die Misogynie. Die neuen Mauern. Wenn ich Steve Bannon beim Wahlkampf in Europa sehe, muss ich Europa fragen: Habt ihr gesehen, wie das in den Vereinigten Staaten oder mit dem Brexit ausging?

ZEIT: In Ihrer Wahlheimat Frankreich unterstützen Sie die Bewegung der Gelbwesten. Warum?

Anderson: Weil nicht wieder die Armen für die Fehler des Establishments zahlen sollen. Es gibt so viel Reichtum auf der Welt, verteilt ihn endlich gerecht!

ZEIT: Was unterscheidet Ihr Engagement von der Wohltätigkeitsarbeit anderer Hollywood Berühmtheiten?

Anderson: Ich mache nicht einfach nur Charity. Wie viele Hollywood-Celebrities haben Julian Assange verteidigt, den die Vereinigten Staaten in ein Guantánamo ähnelndes Gefängnis stecken oder sogar mit dem Tod bestrafen wollen? Wie viele andere Hollywood-Berühmtheiten sieht man auf Plakaten für die Europawahl in Deutschland? Keine. Ha! Es reicht nicht, einfach nur Geld für wohltätige Zwecke zu spenden. Ich gehe auf die Straße, und zwar wortwörtlich. Haben Sie mich nicht gesehen?

Interview: Tobias Timm via www.zeit.de

The Making of a “Rapist”, by Pamela Anderson

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Today, I want to speak out as a woman. A woman who has survived rape and sexual abuse. A woman who knows how cruel men can be, and how deep the wounds in a woman’s soul. To this day, I remember the excruciating pain. To this day, I can feel the agony. To this day, their faces keep haunting my sleep - a fate shared by countless women worldwide. No, I would never defend a rapist, there can never be an excuse for this crime, nor for offenders enjoying impunity. We owe it to ourselves, our sisters and girls to speak out and fight complacency.

But in our resolve to do the right thing, let us never forget the danger of error, and the power of false accusations. For the same factors that make allegations of rape so difficult to prove in a court of law, make them even more difficult to disprove in the court of public opinion. Therefore, false allegations of sexual misconduct have always been the tool of choice for any campaign of mobbing, blackmail or slander. Once someone has been stamped a “rapist”, whether convicted, charged or merely alleged, his reputation has not only been sentenced to death, but has already been executed in public.

And this is the reason I speak out today. I speak out in support of a friend. A friend whom I love dearly, but whose health is crumbling, whose hopes are fading and whose time is running out. A friend who has dared to speak truth to power, who has shone a light on their criminal deeds and who is now paying the price. A friend whose voice has been strangled, whose hands have been shackled and whose name has been slandered. His name is Julian Assange.

Let us remember that Julian has never been convicted for a sexual offense, that he has never even been formally charged with one, and that there never has been any supporting evidence against him. In fact, when the rape allegations first emerged in 2010, Julian voluntarily cooperated with the police, responded to their questions and stayed in Sweden until permitted to leave. Even the chief prosecutor, having carefully considered all the evidence, closed the case, stating that “I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape” and that the alleged conduct “disclosed no crime at all”. Only to be re-opened a few days later by a different prosecutor, and based on conveniently modified allegations of fact.

Let us also remember what both complainants have confirmed already years ago: namely that their sex with Julian had always been consensual, that they had never intended to report a crime, but that Swedish police had pressured them into doing so. And when Sweden finally wanted to drop the case in 2013, it was the British who urged them not to get “cold feet”. Sweden complied and, in the following years, went out of its way to ensure that Julian would not be able to defend himself against the rape allegations without at the same time exposing himself to extradition to the US.

On 13 May 2019, Sweden re-opened the very same grotesque investigation for a third time since August 2010. We all know that the rape allegations against Julian are bogus. We all know what is their real purpose. And we all know that Sweden acts in bad faith. As poignantly summarized by Women Against Rape: “The allegations against [Julian] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will”. I fully agree. This is not about justice for rape. This is about the rape of justice. A tragedy for Julian, a disgrace for Sweden and a serious betrayal of all of us believing in justice, democracy and the rule of law.

To me, Julian is a personal friend, a hero, a liberator. To you, he may be an enemy, a traitor, a sleazy snitch. You are entitled to your opinion and don’t have to change your mind. But before you draw your conclusions, please make sure you have really thought this through.

If, after all I said, you still believe Julian is a rapist, did you ever ask yourself whether the mere fact of a ripped condom can really amount to “rape”? A ripped condom which has revealed no trace of DNA? A ripped condom happening in the midst of repeated sexual encounters between consenting adults? A condom which Julian is accused of having ripped intentionally, but without the only other person in the room even noticing the deed? Just in case you didn’t know: that’s all he is being accused of. Pause and think. And then draw your own conclusions.

If you really believe Julian “hacked” US Government computers, then pause and think: Why would he do so, when all the files he published had already been freely given to him by a whistle-blower with full top-secret authorization? And if you really believe that Wikileaks’ revelations have unlawfully harmed someone, then why not sue the organization for just compensation? And if you hate Julian, simply because Wikileaks embarrassed you, your company, your government or your political cause, then pause and think: Who is really to blame for the shame? Who committed the wrongdoings that were exposed? Are you sure you are not simply shooting the messenger? And what entitles you to become his torturer and henchman?

The truth is that Wikileaks never falsely accused anyone of anything, but published clear evidence of war crimes, corruption and abuse. Yet, the only people accused and prosecuted are those who uncovered the dirty truth. Sure, there is an ethical discussion to be had on the legitimacy of leaking government secrets, and on related questions of privacy, safety and national security. But then let’s create a proper forum, invite everybody and talk about it. Sure, there may be alternative ways of ensuring transparency and preventing abuse, but as long as proven war criminals are allowed to walk freely, Wikileaks may well be our best and only shot at trying to hold our leaders to account for the crimes committed against us and against others in our name.

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So let us not be naïve. Julian Assange is not being pursued for rape. This is not about who Julian is, it is about who we are and how we are dealing with dissent and fundamental challenges to the secrecy with which politics, business and other affairs of public interest have been traditionally conducted. It is about whether we can torture and abuse with impunity, not only on the battlefield but also at home. It is not only about Julian’s dignity, but also about our own.

This is one of those moments in history, when each of us stands before the choice to either sleepwalk into collective disaster or to stand up and do the right thing. For centuries the mob has stood by cheering, while inconvenient women were being burned alive, purportedly for having had sex with the devil. And nobody dared to expose the lie. Today the entire world stands by cheering, as the witch-hunt goes after an inconvenient man, purportedly for being a rapist, a hacker, a narcissist and – who knows – perhaps even the devil himself? But today I stand up and speak up as a woman, as a friend, and your sister in the human family. And I ask you to shake off that poisonous black veil from your heart and your eyes and to look at the truth of what is being done to Julian. And before you draw your conclusions, please pause and think, and then stand up and do the right thing!

Who wants to kill Pamela Anderson?

Vogue Czechoslovakia June 2019

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Super Heroine

Pamela Anderson. Name as a symbol. It means sex because its holder appeared in Playboy couple times. It means security because she rescued men of all generations from drowning as a member of Baywatch (then, they drowned in dreams she often entered wildly). Nowadays, Pamela Anderson has become a symbol of something completely different – society and politics. She is a commited and radical woman ready to fight.

First of all, thank you for shooting with us. It was really a pleasure. We all fall in love! You are really fun and don’t take things that seriously as a lot of celebrities do. And at the end, you paid our dinner.

You worked harder than me. It was my pleasure.

You are gifted not only with beauty, but you are such a great dancer! Great we had a little party afterwards.

I definitely needed to have some fun. We have to balance our lives. I wake up every day determined to help people. But we must refuel with fun. Make activism fun. And glamorous.

You also had a dog with you.

And I was happy to bring Zeus on the shoot. Merci - he was tres chic in that scarf. Was it Hermès , Chanel?

Actually, that little party we have after the shoot, is it something normal?

Not always. But I wanted to celebrate with my new friends and I love Cassis it was such a fun day. And I loved the little house you rented. Private and wild.

Every shoot with you ends like that?

Ha. Many. But not always.

What do you usually give to others?

My attention, my love, my broken thoughts - the truth.

What usually makes you laughed-out-loud? Which humor do you personally prefer? 

I love honesty. Raw conversations. They are very important. Even if you’re rolling on the floor. Trying to find your words covered in glitter. This feels funny and honest as you discover things in the moment and feel new feelings.

And laugh.

And what is not fun at all?

The world is suffering a lot. It’s a difficult time. It’s just not fair how some have so much and most have so little.

When we talk about sad things. Did you read Moby’s tweet about Notre-Dame? “I kind of wish people cared as much about burning rainforests as they do about burning cathedrals.” What do you think about that?

You just have to read my twitter and see my feelings on this.

" @pamfoundation 19.4. 2019

1 billion € to rebuild the Notre Dame already raised.

That was easy.

Merci billionaires-

I thought the Catholic Church had enough money. 

Thriving by the wishful tidings of the poor.”

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How much of our charity work is connected with our own egos? Helping for helping or helping to look good?

Exactly.

I think, you are the most famous supporter of PETA ever. I read it was your own initiative to support them, is that true? 

Yes, I wrote to them from the set of Baywatch wanting to help anyway I could. I said ‘Use Me’. Let me share this attention with something meaningful.

When you talk with men, are they looking to your eyes? Or do you count minutes when they turn down there? What do you think about men in general?

Ha! Another naughty question. Every girl wants to feel sexy.

I think of myself as a socialist feminist. I love men. I don’t like authority. Be careful who you share your weaknesses with. Some people cant wait for the opportunity to use it against you.

How seriously do people take sex symbols? What is the biggest cliché about it?

‘Sex symbol’ is a cliché.

As the sex symbol of our times, what do you think about #MeToo? 

I don’t think hashtags are as effective as actions. I feel the same about protesting. It’s important. But also important to take action individually in our own lives. Even if others aren’t.

Do you really care what people think about you? 

Not really, I just hope I can inspire people to think about the world.

I love you twitter posts. Do you always tell what you really think? 

Yes I try.

When were you politically incorrect?  

Always. I’m told so.

What do you think of "overcorrectness" of current times? 

Boring and isolating.

Have you ever been judged for your behavior? 

My behavior? I’m alive, I’ve had a fun life.

We have to remember we all have layered lives. It’s not easy to judge someone correctly. So it’s best to mind your self. We should judge our politicians. So we can vote for who most resonates with the people.

What is the biggest bullshit you ever heard about yourself?

I try not to listen. I realize there is an image of me. That over the years evolved o to kind of a cartoon. But people can’t really believe it to be who I am. It’s hard to accept it. I’m always in a ridiculous battle - to convince people that I have something to say. And even people closest to me try to protect me - don’t use this photo it’s too sexy. Don’t do this. Don’t do that.  Fuck off!!! Let me be me. I’ll tell you who that is!

Are you afraid of getting old?

Well, it’s not the easiest thing. My mother warned me of all.

How one day you’d look in the mirror and not recognize yourself. Your hair would thin (not in my case) my neck would go next she said. (I’m lucky so far) but definitely feel it. I don’t want to chase youth. Funny how youth chases me. I’m hard to keep up with. But I want to enjoy my body my ‘beauty’ what events left to the last drop.

Did I tell you I like your voice? I really want you to record a Vogue Czechoslovakia voice mail! What will be the message?

Oh, I don’t like my voice. But I like to use it for good. And I want to say Europe must take the lead in tackling climate change that's why we need Green New Deal and it is happening, in United States with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez,

in Europe with European Spring and DiEM25 and hopefully in UK with Labour party.

What do you love about living in Europe? 

I love Europe's diversity: from Ukrainians living in Warsaw to Turkish restaurants in Berlin to North African communities in Paris. It was once ravaged by war — each country hating the next — and now many people can move freely and make lives all across it. America is also a very diverse, immigrant country. But it has never had these deep divisions of nationality and wars between them. But like in America, this is now under attack: they want to make a Fortress around Europe and force migrants into detention camps. That's why we are fighting to destroy Fortress Europe and stand against discrimination of all kinds.

Why should we think more about our neighbours and less about ourselves? 

Honestly, I don't see a difference between them. We are all so inter-connected — more than ever: in a global economy, where we communicate across oceans every day. In that kind of world, what happens to our neighbours is a good indication of what could happen to us. If my neighbour is evicted from her home, will they not come for me next? If my neighbour is thrown in jail for speaking out against evil, will they not come for me next? if my neighbour cannot migrate to seek a better life abroad, will the same thing not happen to me in the future? We draw these borders all the time between ourselves and our neighbours — between Britain and Europe, between rich and poor. But all of us are linked together. We need an international movement that recognizes those borders as what they are: dangerous fictions meant to keep us apart.

Is it possible to love Europe without leaving the EU? 

Of course it is. I understand Europe from the bottom-up: a continent of peoples — from Serbians (outside the EU), to Hungarians (outside the Eurozone), to the French (at the heart of the EU). I love these people. I understand the EU from the top-down: a set of institutions designed as a cartel. Our job is to transform the EU into a true European project. 

That's what DiEM25 is fighting for — a democratic European Union governed from the bottom-up.

 “@pamfoundation 18.4. 2019

I look at the world as a family.

Each state is a person.

And there are some ‘black sheep’s’, bullies among us.

All families have them.

And usually all they need is love, attention and to be heard.

We are stronger together”

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Have you ever heard about Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia? Do you know any famous Czech people?

Is this really a question? I am certainly not Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign minister who recently said that Slovenia is a "Soviet vassal state" or Donald Trump who confused the Baltic states in Europe with the Balkans. I know my geography! 

Once you said Playboy was a university for you. Who was the best teacher and what did you learn?

Hefner was a pioneer. A visionary. He taught me to paint the picture of the life I wanted and do it without apology.

Have you ever learnt something from Vogue?

I love the clothes. And I’m not good at dressing myself.

Why were you not wearing underwear during our shoot?

Oh lord. Really? It’s a photo shoot - who wears underwear. And you told me not to?

 “@pamfoundation 11.4. 2019

I am in shock..

I couldn’t hear clearly what he said?

He looks very bad.

How could you Equador ?

(Because he exposed you).

How could you UK. ?

Of course  - you are America’s bitch and  you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit bullshit.”

 “@pamfoundation 11.4. 2019

Being in the public eye helped him evade rendition,

torture or death so far.

We must keep all eyes on him.”

We all know about your tweets concerning latest Julian Assange actions. Why are you so upset?

Julian Assange is a hero.

We will look back and he will be in the history books as one.

How would you describe with your own words your relationship?

We are friends.

Where and how did you actually meet?

I met him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Can you remember last words you said to him?

Not actually. But I will visit him in prison soon.

Will there be any justice for him?

I hope so.

What is the biggest disease of the world in these days?

Consumption.

 “@pamfoundation 11.4. 2019

And the USA?

This toxic coward of a President

He needs to rally his base? - 

You are selfish and cruel.

You have taken the entire world backwards.

 You are devils and liars and thieves.

And you will ROTT

 And

WE WILL RISE”

How can we make America great again?

Stop putting America first.

What bothers you the most at the moment?

Climate change. May I say something without a question?

Certainly, go ahead.

I worry about Brexit. In these dark times of rising populism, austerity and climate change, Europe should stay united.

What are you doing at the moment?

I’ve had my coffee. I’ve brought Zeus to dressage for the day after a nice morning swim. I have many interviews. Elections are in May. And you want him to have a fun day with other dogs and not stare at me on my phone all day. He always try’s to nudge out of my hand. My baby.

via www.vogue.cz/clanek/vogue-cs-in-english/martin-hradecky/pamela-anderson-sex-symbol-is-a-cliche

"Er sagte zu mir: Rette mein Leben!"

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www.spiegel.de/panorama/leute/julian-assange-pamela-anderson-spricht-ueber-besuch-im-gefaengnis-a-1266665.html

It’s always hard to convey the conditions.
I think Spiegel did a great job
with the few minutes we had.
I did say he lost at least 20lbs (or 10 kilos).
He has been ill and could not keep food in his stomach settled for almost 2 weeks.
The big bubble camera in interrogation was looming over our heads
microphones were taped down everywhere.
Guard were outside the glass door and
They walked in and out many times to take something from desk or drawer.
Julian was brought to us
45 minutes late
After multiple entry points.
Fingerprints, photographs, X-ray machines like at airport
and pat downs -
We could bring nothing with us.
No pencil or pen.
But he’s not complaining about his conditions.
We are.
We don’t want to make it harder
for him. (And this was also conveyed to us - and unsettling)
His focus is the case
and solutions.
He’s determined
no matter how he is treated -
When obstacles are put in his way
to keep him occupied, bored or afraid.
These are details-
He is fighting
and he will do all he can to win
the people’s right to know
at the expense
of any discomfort or distraction.
It’s his life -
An incredible value to society -
That we must save.
He is dependant on us.
This is not comfortable for him.
He is not in control.
Any ounce of that has been taken from him.
He has to trust -
that WE care enough
about our rights
to fight for HIM too.

And -
they will stop at nothing
to discredit him
and try to turn people against him -

I believe
the streets have wisdom.
People are aware of the smear campaign- worldwide. .
There are many issues to fight for.
But
how can we fight for anything
Without knowing
(and risking all)
To understand the truth.
The answers to all the world issues
are there.
Amongst the lies, the greed, intertwined in a sick
thirst for power -

Hidden from us.

Until now -
Until @wikileaks

#saveassange

Financial Times: Alphaville meets Pamela Anderson, the original influencer

Pamela Anderson, photographed by Carmelo Redondo in the South of France in April 2019

Pamela Anderson, photographed by Carmelo Redondo in the South of France in April 2019

By: Jemima Kelly

Last month, we interviewed former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis for Alphachat, and asked him about his new transnational “Democracy in Europe Movement” or “DiEM25″. During our research for the interview, we’d come across various pictures of Yanis schmoozing with other movers and shakers -- you know, the usual crowd: Noam Chomsky, Benoît Hamon, Ken Loach, Pamela Anderson...

Ah ha. Pamela -- Baywatch legend -- Anderson.

Suffice to say, we were intrigued by Anderson’s involvement. Yanis had gushed that she was “absolutely disarming and charming and wonderful”. And, having subsquently gathered that she was very publicly supporting Julian Assange, we were keen to understand how the politicisation of Pamela Anderson -- the world's original online influencer -- had actually taken place.

Back in the 90s, of course, Anderson's stand-out performance in what as the time the most-watched TV series in the world, Baywatch -- with an estimated 1.1bn weekly viewers in 148 countries -- established her as one of the most recognisable women in the world.

But what we possibly forget these days is that Anderson's profile was also elevated by expansive internet propagation, the sort of publicity more closely associated with social media stars today.

In that regard it's worth remembering that long before Kim Kardashian's sex tape ever went viral, Pamela Anderson's equivalent had already long ago broken the internet. (Pammy’s, though, was stolen from her home, while Kimmy’s was reportedly leaked not so accidentally.)

More pertinently still, before Kimmy was the most searched-for person on the internet in 2011, for a year, Pammy was the most searched-for person for a decade, between 1995 and 2005, as the internet took off.

(Relatedly, while Kimmy achieved the record for the most-liked Instagram picture ever -- now sadly displaced by an egg -- Pammy still holds the record for the most Playboy covers ever.)

Unsurprisingly, when you look at who's influencing the influencers, often times it's Anderson herself.

Not only did Kim Kardashian dress up as her last Halloween, when Anderson -- a longtime animal-rights activist -- sent her a faux mink coat and a letter asking her to give up wearing it, Kim indeed gave up fur a few months later.

Actual influence.

Which is why when Anderson says she's looking to apply her influence to full-time activism, aka the promotion of political and social ideas more than brands, it's probably worth taking a closer look at how and why she's decided to get involved.

It was on that note that Anderson agreed to speak to us. At first, only by email (she said she could better express herself that way). But eventually -- providing we wouldn't ignore her carefully thought-out written replies, interspersed below -- by phone and face-to-face in her suite in a Mayfair hotel, in part justified by the fact the phone call had to be interrupted.

On Julian Assange

And so it was we inadvertently found ourselves speaking to Anderson the day before she was once again catapulted into global headlines, this time in connection to her close friendship with Julian Assange, when he was was arrested and dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. At the time we spoke, we had been oblivious to Assange's precarious state. But Anderson herself was already worrying about the risk of an “imminent expulsion”. Later, she told us:

“To see him was so horrible. It was so sad not just because he looked the way he did — more emaciated since I’ve seen him, and a lot older, and scared -- but also because he hasn’t been out of his room for seven years and they just grabbed him and pulled him out and stuck him in a car. I can’t even imagine how he’s feeling right now in prison.... It’s difficult to see. He’s taking the heat for everybody and I wish people could be more sympathetic. But he knew what he was getting himself into. And he’s prepared for it.”

This week, she became the first person to visit Assange in Belmarsh prison. Anderson told us that she visited him every time she was in London, bringing him vegan food even though unlike her, Assange is not a vegan. “He felt like that was something exotic”. She liked the fact that he didn’t seem to judge her:

“It’s so funny because when I went to go and speak to him he would talk to me about my family, my life, what’s going on in the world. He really wanted to know about how I was thinking. He’s not this narcissistic self-serving person that people say he is. He’s really curious about other people, really curious about how the world works, and through my eyes what do I see. He treated me as an equal. Me!”

She also told us about how she and Assange would sit in the embassy together watching videos of far-right YouTubers -- “young, spiky-haired guys” -- talking about how crazy the world had become. She would speak to Assange about bitcoin too, she said, because she has an adopted son who’s into it. But Assange, apparently, explained to her that blockchain was much more interesting than the cryptocurrency that WikiLeaks projected into the limelight when it chose to accept it as a funding currency for its operations in 2011.

Regular Alphaville readers know that we don’t buy the blockchain hype. And yeah, Assange is, let us say, a divisive figure. But Anderson doesn’t seem to mind if you don’t agree with her or her pals. She’s not into echo chambers:

“I have a lot of really incredible friends... and not everybody I know agrees, which I really like. I love that there’s just so many people in my life with interesting perspectives, and points of view, and conversation. And then I get to go home to my soccer player. And not talk about politics... DiEM25 is something I’m really pouring my heart into and I’m learning every day. I can’t read enough books; I can’t read enough articles; I can’t meet enough people. I’m just really hungry for information, I’m really excited about what they’re doing.

I like to do the unexpected. And I don’t really feel the pressure because I really have nothing to live up to.”

Pamela Anderson, photographed by Carmelo Redondo in the South of France in April 2019

Pamela Anderson, photographed by Carmelo Redondo in the South of France in April 2019

On the future of Europe

Pamela, who was born in Canada but is of Finnish, Russian and Romani descent, now lives in the South of France, splitting her between Marseille and Cassis. She goes out and lives with Adil Rami, who plays football for Marseille and the French national team, though she had moved to France before she met him and says she’s known for a long time that she would end up in these parts at this point in her life.

She might seem to people like an unlikely ambassador for DiEM25 and the idea of pan-Europeanism, and she’s aware of that. But she’s also clearly genuinely excited by it:

“Sometimes I think: am I helping or am I hindering? What am I doing? Because it’s like I’m here, but then there are all these philosophers, and economists — all these people with all these degrees, and I’m sitting here going you know, I barely finished high school, I was on Baywatch, I’m an animal activist, I have a golden retriever, I dunno...

I don’t even know how I ended up in this world. Sometimes I feel I’m just throwing myself into things which is really exciting... Feel the Fear and do it Anyway is just every day of my life, and I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s how you stay young. Keep on learning, keeping on being brave, keep on trying new things, and really I do feel the urgency of trying to do something interesting to grab people’s attention. I know I can reach people in funny places. Like maybe the people that aren’t reading the Financial Times are watching something else... I just want to help.

All the activists across Europe whom I met...are making politics sexy again. And the fact that a Greek economist, Yanis Varoufakis, and a Croatian philosopher, Srećko Horvat, are running in Germany show that these elections are not about national politics but about the future of Europe as such. I am glad to see that Europe finally has a movement with passion opposed both to the trooping rightwing populists and to the inept establishment that is leading Europe deeper into crisis, from austerity to debt economy, from shockingly low investment into green technology and infrastructure to ruining the planet by sticking to fossil fuels. Europe should be a leader in saving the Planet.”

Anderson also defends the gilets jaunes:

“I raised my voice in the very beginning, saying that we should also be speaking about state violence, and the real causes for the protests, namely the fact that the poor were supposed to pay for the so called “green transition” (carbon tax). Now, after months of continuous unrest, Emmanuel Macron, instead of offering a much needed Green New Deal that would ensure jobs and move towards 100 per cent clean energy (not a simple carbon tax), is adopting an “anti-riot” bill. Where is Europe’s democracy going?”

On career activism and Notre-Dame donations

Anderson says that she’s set herself up financially so that she can now dedicate herself full-time to activism, but she realises that not everyone can do the same.

One of the problems with activism and protests, she makes us realise, is that people in full-time work don’t tend to have the time to engage very much in it. That means it’s often just an activity for the rich and privileged (the "Trustafarian" types), and that in turn means we don’t tend to get a very diverse range of issues being protested about.

Anderson is setting up a project called Tenure -- an offshoot of her charitable foundation, which is focused on animal rights -- to help broaden the range of people engaged in activism:

“I’m going to find -- I think I can only afford right now, to get three activists a year. But my goal is to get ten activists a year, and pay their salary for ten years so they can be activists... It’s definitely hard to make a living as an activist. You have to feed your family so you have to have some job. But this is a job!

So that’s happening so I need to fund that. I need to find some money in my foundation which is so difficult, and so awful. I’m such a gala snob — I don’t like to go to these things because I always feel that it’s such a waste of money to throw these parties.”

She did go to a gala auction event recently, though, put on by the Marseille football team in aid of local underprivileged kids. All was going well until the team owner suddenly announced that the 100,000 euros that had been raised for a signed Bruce Springsteen guitar was going to go to the reconstruction of Notre-Dame -- a project that had already received more than $1bn in donations -- instead of the children.

“To base this whole night on children and then to do that? Basically he did it for applause. Because he could have donated privately, right? He didn’t have to say it at the end. It’s just so out of touch! ... I just think, even Notre-Dame the building would want you to give money to children! So it just struck me as a bit strange. And I thought 100,000 euros would go a long way in Marseille.”

Pamela took to Twitter to vent her frustration and told us she's going to write to Bruce Springsteen, who she knows personally, to ask where he would prefer the money to go.

On “anti-feminism”

In December, Pamela wrote a series of tweets directed at Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, saying she was worried Italy was descending into fascism. Salvini responded chauvinistically, saying he preferred her in a swimming costume and posting a picture of her from her Baywatch days. What did she make of this kind of response?

“It's not shocking. I’m sure he was very confused. But it revealed how much more work we need in smashing patriarchy.”

Someone who talks about “smashing patriarchy”, you might imagine, would be a fully paid-up member of the #MeToo brigade, and would want to direct some of her activism towards that. Particularly as someone who spends so much time hanging out with the leftie elite. But she’s not. In the past, she’s referred to herself as an “anti-feminist”; but it seemed to us she was less an antifeminist, and more a critic of the particular brand of feminism that has swept across Western society in the past five years.

She told us about her upbringing by her mother and great-aunt:


I was really lucky to be raised by such amazing women — just so full of life and romantic, and loved men, and loved being women. Now there’s this third-way feminism which I think is kind of boring and this #MeToo movement, which I think is good but I also think it’s a little bit paralysing. I believe less in hashtags than actions. We have to make sure we do something too.”

Although she's fond of Twitter as a platform for spreading ideas, it seems Anderson is wary of social media, and technology in general:

“This culture of Instagram and Twitter - how followers determine your self worth... Young people don’t need this, not to mention the danger of letting people know where you are etc. It’s a predator's playground. This and Uber make me very nervous.”

She's also sceptical about money:

“It may sound a little Star Trekky, but I believe one day money won’t exist and your good deeds will be your capital.

Money is debt, and we need to have a different relationship with money and the economy...”

But she's also, it turns out, an advocate for radical monogamy (emphasis ours):

“We need a sensual revolution. Now, the radical thing to do is to fall in love. Get off your phone, your PlayStation and stop watching porn. Go f*** your wife. This alone could save the world. Love, sex, romance, empathy.”

As the original influencer and something of a total legend, we asked if Anderson might be keen to get involved in our efforts to expose that the entire economy is Fyre Festival. To our delight she said yes. So if you're a closet Anderson fan with nostalgic attachments to the 90s, watch this space.

via www.ft.com