George Galloway draws fire over Julian Assange rape comments


George Galloway appears for a photograph in front of the Houses of Parliament prior to being sworn in as a member of parliament on April 16, 2012 in London, England.


Oli Scarff

British parliamentarian George Galloway has drawn controversy by saying allegations made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange "don't constitute rape."

"Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, [and] had consensual sex with him," he said, Sky News reported

"[She] claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know.

"I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you're already in the sex game with them."

However, according to Sky News, Galloway also condemned as "disgusting" what he described as Assange's "sexual behavior."

However, he said, the fact that he did not to obtain verbal consent prior to sexual intercourse, while “sordid,” did not constitute rape.

"It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, 'Do you mind if I do it again?'

"It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape, or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.

"I don't believe either of those women, I don't believe either of these stories."

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Galloway, according to the BBC “a frequent critic of the US and UK governments,” reportedly made the comments during his podcast, “Good Night With George Galloway.”

He was reacting to Sweden's attempt to extradite Assange over sexual assault claims which the Respect Party member said were "totally unproven."

The fact that “two women with incredibly complex political backgrounds” came forward with the allegations was “an extraordinary coincidence,” he said, according to the BBC.

Galloway's comments came days after US Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin drew condemnation from both sides of politics by saying that in "legitimate rape" a woman's body has ways of shutting down to avoid pregnancy.

He had been trying to explain his pro-life stance in an interview with US television station KTVI-TV and has since said he "misspoke." 

Both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have spoken out against Akin’s comment.

Obama said: "Rape is rape ... the idea of distinguishing among types of rape doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me."