Julian Assange was arrested earlier today at the Ecuadorian embassy in London shortly after Ecuador revoked his political asylum status. Video footage of the controversial WikiLeaks founder being hauled off by authorities—disheveled, bearded, and acting erratically—instantly went viral as media organizations rushed to cover the breaking news.
But one aspect of the video footage seemed especially noteworthy: the source of it. The footage was captured and shared by a news outlet called Ruptly, whose logo appeared over the clip it shared on Twitter. At last check, it had more than half a million views.
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) April 11, 2019
Ruptly describes itself as an “international video news agency,” headquartered in Berlin. It has over 80,000 Twitter followers and has been around since at least 2013. It also happens to be owned by Russia Today, or RT, the news outlet that doubles as propaganda arm of the Kremlin. Given Assange’s allegedly cozy relationship with Russian intelligence, that last detail raised more than a few eyebrows today when Ruptly somehow ended up with the only footage of Assange’s arrest.
So what gives? According to a statement from Ruptly, shared on Twitter by CNN’s Hadas Gold, the exclusive footage was simply the result of dogged and determined reporting. “For the last week, we closely monitored developments on this story while our team of producers worked in shifts, filming the embassy 24/7.”
Here’s the full statement. Take it for what you will:
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) April 11, 2019
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Hadas Gold is with Politico. She is now with CNN.