London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly walked out of an interview when asked about his personal life.
Australian-born Assange walked out on a CNN interview after the reporter asked him about his often-terse relationship with fellow workers - and an even more serious personal court case in which he was cleared of sex abuse charges in Sweden.
The 39-year-old ended the interview with CNN`s Atika Shubert after she brought up the issue of the charges brought against him - who himself publicised the charges as a ``dirty tricks campaign`` by the US government.
“I`m going to walk if you`re going to contaminate this extremely serious interview with questions about my personal life,” the Daily Mail quoted Assange as saying.
When pressed on the issue, he said, “It`s completely disgusting, Atika. I`m going to walk if you`re going to contaminate us revealing the deaths of 104,000 people with attacks against my person.”
Then Shubert said, ``I`m not. What I`m asking is if you that this is an attack on WikiLeaks.”
That is when Assange removed his microphone and walked out.
“I`m going to walk if you`re going to contaminate this extremely serious interview with questions about my personal life.”
Assange had started to get uncomfortable earlier in the interview when Shubert suggested that former staff had quit due to internal squabbling - and his personality ``eclipsing`` the work of the organisation.
Shubert said, “This criticism that the story around you is eclipsing the work of WikiLeaks... would you consider stepping aside.”
He said, “We always expect tremendous criticism. It is my role to be the lightning rod to attract the attacks against the organisation. That is a difficult role, but on the other hand I also get undue credit.”
When Shubert then brought up the issue of the Swedish charges, Assange cut her off and said “I am not going to talk about that`n” - and then repeatedly warned ``I`m going to walk” before actually doing so.
As he left Shubert was heard to say: ``I had to ask that question.``