Twitter was aflutter with reactions ranging from glee to despair after Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday, but many of the reactions centered around one thing: his wildly disheveled appearance.
Many social media users cracked jokes at Assange's expense, poking fun at his full, white beard, which made him appear years older than his age of 47.
One Twitter user compared him to Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.
Was that Julian Assange or Gandalf The Gray who was just arrested? pic.twitter.com/iER25B9Ewc— David Armano #Brandsmart2019 (@armano) April 11, 2019
Another wrote that he looked like "someone starved Santa Claus."
Why does Julian Assange look like someone starved Santa Claus? pic.twitter.com/aYvuUMvAKh— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) April 11, 2019
Others saw a similarity between Assange's demeanor and the fictional Marvel Comics super villain The Mandarin.
Not sure if Assange or the Mandarin 🤔 pic.twitter.com/znhIGgseDM— Raj Chudgar (@RajPC1) April 11, 2019
Others simply marveled that he appeared decades older than his actual age.
Julian Assange is only 47 years old. pic.twitter.com/NZqQxRBYk1— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) April 11, 2019
One user joked that the widely-circulated photo of him being carried out of the embassy closely resembled the end of a Scooby Doo mystery.
Who'd have thought it would turn out to have been old man Assange all along pic.twitter.com/gFKQhJdogh— Neil Miles (@neilsmiles) April 11, 2019
In a dramatic scene that ended Assange's nearly seven-year stay at the embassy, British police carried the Australian native out of the Ecuadorian embassy.
Just moments before the arrest, Ecuador announced that it had withdrawn Assange's asylum for "repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol."
Video of the arrest showed Assange with a full white beard, holding an unidentified magazine or book and unclearly yelling something to reporters.
The Metropolitan Police said that Assange had been detained partly in connection with an extradition warrant filed by authorities in the United Sates, where he could face a charge of computer hacking, according to The New York Times, if he is extradited.
Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno described the decision to withdraw Assange's asylum as a "sovereign decision" because of his alleged related violations.
"Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable," Moreno said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Teleamazonas this week that living in the embassy indefinitely is bad for Assange's "state of mind, his health," but that he has the right to a fair trial and defense.
Earlier this month, London's Metropolitan Police vowed to arrest Assange if he left the embassy. He faces possible extradition to the United States for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
The United States Justice Department has charged Assange in relation to the publication of classified documents, a fact that prosecutors accidentally made public in November.0comments
Barry J. Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, accused the United States of conducting what he said was "an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information."
Photo credit: Jack Taylor / Stringer / Getty