ARNOLD GROPING TV HOST VAN OUTEN ON LIVE TV
British TV host Anna Richardson told the Sun: "I wanted to say, 'You dirty bastard'. But you can't tell a powerful man like him to f*** off... He kept saying how fantastic I looked and staring at my [breasts]." At the end of the interview, claims Richardson, "He pulled me onto his knee, saying 'I really want to know if your breasts are real'"
Yet I became aware of allegations concerning Arnold's bad behavior as soon as he announced his candidacy. Maybe that's because I read the British newspapers in addition to US papers. The Guardian had a summary of Arnold on August 8, shortly after he announced he would be running which referenced an article published in Premiere magazine. This article, which detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse perpetrated by Arnold, was recapped by E-online in 2001. The E article highlights the fact that while Arnold has never shied away from suing tabloids for false allegations, he never filed suit against Premiere. Now we know why. Because of his widespread history of sexually molesting women, he would have been unable to prove the claims false.
When the LA Times broke its story on Thursday, Arnold's campaign denied the women's claims. Subsequently, Arnold shocked everyone in a calculated attempt to mitigate the damage by apologizing and admitting that "where there's smoke, there's fire." Since Thursday, many more allegations have emerged, some of which Arnold claims are absolutely false. Yet in an ABC interview on Saturday, he said: "It doesn't make any sense to go through details here with you. What is important is that I cannot remember what was happening 20 years ago and 15 years ago. But some of the things sound like me."
Wait a minute. Arnold says that since he cannot remember doing them, we're not supposed to hold it against him while admitting that "some of the things sound like me." Not one of the incidents the LA Times recounted is anything less than despicable. If even one sounds like him, the important thing is not whether he remembers each incident. The important thing is that Arnold has a thirty-year history of treating women like horseflesh, prodding and poking, checking to see if their breasts are "real" and whispering remarks that would have made Mae West blush. The important thing is that his wake of victims do remember.
Former female co-stars have rushed to Arnold's defense, as if such a thing were defensible. The most visible one is Tia Carrerre, who claims that Arnold was always a gentleman with her (do rapists rape every woman they know?). Co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Linda Hamilton responded the same way to the Premiere article. Movie directors say they never witnessed such incidents and therefore they could not have occurred on "their" sets. Apparently we are to believe they babysat Arnold every minute of every day of production.
The failure of others to observe or experience such incidents in no way proves they never happened, when by Arnold's own admission "[it] sound[s] like me". It only means Arnold never treated women he considered equals in such a degrading manner. Had he groped Jamie Lee Curtis, she would have complained and because of her status on the film, she'd have been heard. But if the complaint came from a secretary or makeup lady who earned less in one year than Arnold made in a day, would the director dismiss his star, without whom the film could not proceed, or the makeup girl, easily replaced with a phone call?
Arnold also groped strangers: waitresses, girls at the gym, female bystanders. He groped news personnel. Which brings us to the next false argument offered by Arnold and Co. to neutralize these claims: they are old, fifteen to thirty years old.
The Premiere article mentions Denise van Outen, a London TV show host. She is also mentioned in Eight Ball Magazine, which posted a recap of a UK Sun article detailing Arnold's sexual harassment of three British women during his "End of Days" publicity tour. Last Thursday, millions of Californians outside of Hollywood woke up to what millions of Londoners witnessed on live television in 2000.
The National Enquirer, admittedly a publication that doesn't have the best reputation for journalistic integrity, summarized the UK incidents in a December 2000 article:
Denise Van Outen was the 53-year-old star's next target. Millions watched as he repeatedly squeezed her on live morning TV. But blonde bombshell Denise, 26, didn't mind. At one point she exclaimed: "You grabbed my breast!" then quipped, "I really liked it. Go on, have another go!"
Arnie smirked and replied: "It was a handful -- but I never know if my wife is watching!"
Although Arnold sued the tabloid Globe over allegations that his heart was "a ticking time bomb," he never sued the Enquirer over its sexual harassment story nor did he sue the UK Sun, even though UK laws would have made it easier for him to win a defamation suit there than in the US.
Weeks prior to Arnold's announcement that he was running, this report came out of London regarding the Terminator 3 premiere:
Arnie did manage to have his share of fun by thwacking co-star Kristanna Loken's rear before the premiere, with cameras zooming in on Arnie's hand placed on sexy Kristanna's bum while he waved to the crowd from the balcony of the Odeon in Leicester Square.
According to the most recent LA Times allegations, Tamee Smith was contacted "after learning that she had related the incident in April 2002 at a panel discussion on women in Hollywood held on the USC campus."
The day before Arnold announced his bid on the Tonight Show, Access Hollywood asked Cybill Shepherd what she thought about Arnold running for governor. "That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California," said Shepherd. "I think that we are the laughing stock of the world with Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. I think he's a real hypocrite. I think he has a past that is going to come out, and I'm not going to mention what it is, but it's not going to be pretty."
I can't explain why millions of Americans weren't aware of Arnold's behavior until the LA Times articles this past week any more than I can explain why a large percentage of the population believes Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.
Maureen Dowd and many Schwarzenegger supporters have suggested it is hypocritical for women's groups to come down so heavily on Arnold while giving Clinton a free ride. Isn't it just as hypocritical for republicans to have come down so hard on Clinton yet give Schwarzenegger a free ride? But the truth is that NOW gave Clinton a somewhat bumpy ride. Patricia Ireland wrote:
Ms. Broaddrick's account, however, is particularly compelling because, like Kathleen Willey, she has been a reluctant witness with no apparent political or financial motivation.
I understand why she would not want to get involved with the Paula Jones case and why she would give an affidavit denying what she now says is true.
I understand why a woman wouldn't file charges of rape 21 years ago--especially against the attorney general of Arkansas -- especially if she's a married woman who's having an affair. And I understand why she has been reluctant to come forward now.
NOW also called on Clinton to "foreswear 'Nuts or Sluts' defense" tactics. There are tremendous differences between the Clinton case and the Arnold case. Broaddrick issued a sworn affidavit that her rape allegation was false before changing her mind with the help of some extremely partisan counsel. After Willey made her allegations, the White House produced letters in which Willey lavished praise on Clinton. And the Paula Jones case was produced and financed by groups known to be partisan conservatives. Journalist David Brock, who broke the Jones story, apologized to Clinton and issued a complete retraction saying the allegations were indeed a right-wing conspiracy. As for Lewinsky, she described herself as the instigator in her relationship with Clinton and she stuck to her story defiantly when pressured by Starr's team to somehow blame Clinton for taking advantage of her. Finally, it seems unlikely that Clinton would have gotten the nomination or been elected if all the later allegations had surfaced during his initial campaign. Most were given media play after he had already been elected to a second term.
None of the women who have accused Arnold filed lawsuits against him or tried to gain anything financially. The LA Times claims that it found these women through "cold calls to people working in the film industry and women listed in the credits of movies starring Schwarzenegger." If this had been a regular years-long campaign, such late timing might seem suspicious. But this campaign lasted only two months. Seven weeks is not an unreasonable amount of time to conduct a thorough investigation.
Arnold's team has complained that one of the women making allegations belongs to a union against the recall. Most unions in California are against the recall, and most people who work in Hollywood belong to unions. No surprise then that someone who encountered Arnold in Hollywood belongs to a union. Another woman gave money to the Huffington campaign. If someone running for governor had sexually abused you, wouldn't you give money to an opponent? It would be more suspicious if the woman had donated to Arnold's campaign.
The LA Times did what journalists do; they reported the news. It's astonishing that 1,000 people subsequently canceled their subscriptions because they didn't like the news. It will be tragic if Arnold succeeds in portraying this as dirty politics despite his own admission that the accusations are grounded in truth.
It is personally shocking that anyone would vote for Arnold after such strong allegations of sexual harassment, yet here are what some of his followers say on Yahoo message boards:
"Gropers Unite! Finally a voice for the groping man. Our days of persecution are at an end. A new world order in the workplace. Nudie calendars back up, copping feels as we please, dirty jokes running rampant. The backlash against political correctness is almost complete."
"These women are paid WHORES. Paid by the corrupt Democratic Party!"
"Arnold just groped? More so....SUPPORT AND VOTE HIM to be Governor of California! He has high sex level. He likes bodies from the way he trained his; more so women bodies. Yet in spite of his sexuality and infatuation, he didn't go around raping women, keeping a harem or becoming a homosexual. That shows he has good control over his senses. You would have noticed the women concerned were not outraged. In fact they were licking their tongues and boasting away that Arnold groped at their assets. As a result they became famous by association."
"Those poor women! It must have been aweful [sic] to be groped by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know I would HATE to be groped by Pamela Anderson! It would be so demeaning and humiliating!"
"What's Wrong With Groping ? The girls in my Dept. get their panties checked on a regular basis. One girl was caught in a lie and now nobody believes any of them, It's a lot of fun."
"The only men who have never groped a woman are the gay ones!"
And from a female supporter:
"....i bet those women loved it when arnold grab their ass then...now they want the attention and gray davies is helping them get it...i would vote for arnold if i was still living in california....you go arnold."
No doubt these supporters would sing a different tune if it were there mother, sister, wife or daughter who had to put up with such crude behavior. According to Arnold, it was all in "fun" and that's the scariest part of this whole debacle. He believes grabbing a strange woman's tit or ass and humiliating her is fun; whether she agrees is irrelevant. Having experienced sexual harassment firsthand, there is nothing fun about it.
The allegations regarding Arnold as a Nazi sympathizer are also disturbing but also not new. They were mentioned in a 1996 LA Times article. Slate's Timothy Noah reported on Arnold's connection to Nazi war criminal Kurt Waldheim in September. Far from being ancient history, Noah recounted that:
...Schwarzenegger was seen sitting beside Waldheim as recently as 1998, when the two attended the second inauguration of Waldheim's successor as president, Thomas Klestil.
If someone were to ask me whom I admired, Hitler would never come to mind. It's akin to saying you admire Ted Bundy because he was intelligent and good at persuasive speech, even if you don't admire that he used his talent to lure women and kill them or that you admire Manson because he was charismatic enough to have a following, except for the part where he ordered his followers to kill people. Surely there are other charismatic speakers or people who rose to greatness from nothing yet did not implement a genocidal plan resulting in the murders of 6.5 million people along the way?
Despite Arnold's claims that he has always hated Hitler and reports that he broke up Nazi youth rallies and donated a cool million to the Simon Wiesenthal center to assuage his guilt, anyone who expressed admiration for Hitler in his twenties and befriended a Nazi war criminal well into his late forties shows questionable character.
Additionally, Robby Robinson and Rick Wayne, two black bodybuilders who worked with Arnold in his younger years, reveal that he was quite racist. They allege he frequently used the word "nigger" and expressed support for South Africa's practice of apartheid.
As for Arnold's drug use (steroids and marijuana), those are things Arnold did only to himself; the gangbangs, one night stands and posing for Mapplethorpe are personal decisions involving consensual relations.
Yet the groping, paired with a documented extensive history of making crude remarks about women (see Guardian article earlier), such as calling a female law firm employee a 'cunt' after she served him papers, reveal a sexist man unworthy of public office. As governor, Arnold could be called upon to make decisions regarding state sexual harassment statutes and other matters affecting women's rights. Do the people of California really trust such a man to put the best interests of their women first, when he has never done so before?
For the sake of millions of California girls and women, let's hope not. And if he's elected, let me be among the first to contribute to the recall campaign.