Arnold Schwarzenegger shockingly admits stepping 'over the line' with women 'several times'
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which began as a progressive response to allegations made against big name Hollywood personalities such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, countless celebrities have been outed as abusers. Louis CK, James Franco, and Morgan Freeman are just a few examples of those who have been implicated in at least one instance of inappropriate behaviour towards women since the movement started (though none of them have suffered much as a result), and the conversation about problematic men in Hollywood continues today.
Long before all this came to light, however, another powerful figure found himself being accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Back in 2003, multiple women accused the former actor of touching them without permission during his campaign to become the governor of California. At the time, he apologised for "behaving badly", and admitted that he had mistreated women before.
Now, in an interview with Men's Health, the Terminator star revisited these claims, and said that he went "over the line" with how he interacted with women in the past.
When asked whether he wished he had treated women differently in his life, Schwarzenegger held his hands up to prior misdeeds.
"Looking back, I stepped over the line several times, and I was the first one to say sorry," he said.
"I feel bad about it, and I apologize. When I became governor, I wanted to make sure that no one, including me, ever makes this mistake. That’s why we took sexual harassment courses, to have a clear understanding, from a legal point of view and also from a regular-behavior point of view, of what is accepted and what is not."
However, when he was asked whether he regretted referring to some of his former political opponents as "girlie men" (which obviously has some very misogynistic implications), Schwarzenegger seemed more reluctant to admit his error.
"At the time it felt like the right thing to do," he said. "It was in my gut. I improvised it. I called them girlie men because they weren’t willing to take risks. They were afraid of everything. Politicians in general want to do little things so there’s no risk involved. But it was shortsighted. In the long term, it’s better to not say that, because you want to work with them."
And yet, he also claims that his views of masculinity have not changed, and that he believes being a man encompasses having respect for women:
"I’ve not changed my view [of masculinity]. I’m a guy. I would not change my view of who I am. The woman I was originally most in love with was my mother. I respected her, and she was a fantastic woman. I always had respect for women."
Like so many other stars, then, Schwarzenegger abused his position of power in order to take advantage of women who did not want to be treated in such a way. However, at least the actor-turned-politician has taken accountability for his actions - and hopefully many others will soon do the same.