Julian Assange: Activist, Outlaw ... Sex Symbol?

Julian Assange has become the Internet's latest unlikely sex symbol. What gives?

Dec. 14, 2010 — -- The name's Assange. Julian Assange.

The Wikileaks scandal that has unfolded over recent weeks is serious business, a classic "Revenge of the Nerds" scenario. The information the organization has dumped on the world is explosive stuff: hot, dangerous, darkly compelling.

Increasingly, the Internet has given over to buzzing about whether Assange, the man behind the leaks, is himself explosive stuff. As the brooding, lanky Australian appeared at a bail hearing in London today, an unlikely consensus seemed to have formed on the Internet that this pasty-faced journalist is also hot, dangerous and darkly compelling.

What Assange may lack in classic movie star looks, he apparently makes up for in charisma, brains and a steely sense of personal integrity. He is a geeky James Bond, a nerdy Jason Bourne. Others may debate the man's morals and methods. But a former intern has written about her crush on him, Gawker.com has riffed on his appeal, Glenn Beck has called him a "player," and countless Tumblrs have sprung up in his honor. ("Do we all think Julian Assange is hot, or is it just me," asks lapingris.) It's not just her.

What gives?

"Apart from the hair, and the quiet charisma, he is a contemporary polymath -- activist, tech guru, journalist, historian, punk and a political philosopher in the classic tradition," writes "Jane Doe," the anonymous Australian behind the Julian Assange Fanciers Guild, in an e-mail to ABC News. "He epitomizes his era."

He certainly epitomizes something. This week the website Reddit claimed to have unearthed Assange's OKCupid dating profile (the veracity of the profile has yet to be confirmed). Under the pseudonym "Harry Harrison," the swinging singleton who may or may not be Julian Assange described himself as an "87% slut" who likes "women from country that have sustained political turmoil." How did he spend his time? "Changing the world through passion, inspiration and trickery."

Indeed, the main purpose of a recent trip to Sweden was ostensibly to advance Wikileaks' reach. But while seeking out help in hosting his website's servers, Assange met not one but two women who would later accuse him of "rape and molestation." The rape charge was dropped, but he was arrested in London on the latter accusation, despite murky details around what actually happened there.

These recent developments may only increase his mystique -- and, in turn, his It-Boy status among normally discerning young women (including at least one ABC News staffer that we know of).

"As the details of his sexual indiscretions unfolded in the press and his photo, with varying bizarre hairstyles, started to appear everywhere, I found myself almost uncontrollably attracted him," Lora Grillo, 36, an administrative assistant in New York, told ABCNews.com. "We all have a type, and I have found myself drawn to waiflike metrosexual narcissists for far too long to count. Now, I am not proud or ashamed of this attraction. It is simply there one I deal with and one that sometimes I act on. People tend to believe that WMN's are usually passive in bed, but I find the opposite to be true."

The nerds, it seems, will have their revenge in more ways than one. The only question left is who will play the man in the inevitable biopic.

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