Schwarzenegger began weight training at 15. He was awarded the title of Mr. Universe at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest a total of seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent presence in the sport of bodybuilding and has written several books and numerous articles on the sport.
Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon, noted for his lead roles in such films as Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Commando and Predator. He was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" and the "Styrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnie" during his acting career and more recently the "Governator" (a portmanteau of "Governor" and "Terminator").
As a Republican, he was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election (referred to in Schwarzenegger campaign propaganda as a "Total Recall") to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis's term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in California's 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for his second term on January 5, 2007.
In its April 2010 report, Progressive ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Schwarzenegger one of 11 "worst governors" in the United States because of various ethics issues throughout Schwarzenegger's term as governor.
During his initial campaign for governor, allegations of sexual and personal misconduct were raised against Schwarzenegger, dubbed "Gropegate". Within the last five days before the election, news reports appeared in the Los Angeles Times recounting allegations of sexual misconduct from several individual women, six of whom eventually came forward with their personal stories.
Three of the women claimed he had grabbed their breasts, a fourth said he placed his hand under her skirt on her buttock. A fifth woman claimed Schwarzenegger tried to take off her bathing suit in a hotel elevator, and the last said he pulled her onto his lap and asked her about a sex act.
Schwarzenegger admitted that he has "behaved badly sometimes" and apologized, but also stated that "a lot of [what] you see in the stories is not true". This came after an interview in adult magazine Oui from 1977 surfaced, in which Schwarzenegger discussed attending sexual orgies and using substances such as marijuana. Schwarzenegger is shown smoking a marijuana joint after winning Mr. Olympia in the 1975 documentary film Pumping Iron. In an interview with GQ magazine in October 2007, Schwarzenegger said, "[Marijuana] is not a drug. It's a leaf. My drug was pumping iron, trust me." His spokesperson later said the comment was meant to be a joke.
British television personality Anna Richardson settled a libel lawsuit in August 2006 against Schwarzenegger, his top aide, Sean Walsh, and his publicist, Sheryl Main. A joint statement read: "The parties are content to put this matter behind them and are pleased that this legal dispute has now been settled." Richardson claimed they tried to tarnish her reputation by dismissing her allegations that Schwarzenegger touched her breast during a press event for The 6th Day in London. She claimed Walsh and Main libeled her in a Los Angeles Times article when they contended she encouraged his behavior.
Claims to fame: Republican Governor of California; alleged adulterer; alleged statutory rapist; fornicator; serial groper; misogynist; pot smoker; steroid abuser; Nazi apologist; megalomaniac; bad actor
Moral apex: There isnâ€™t just one. So letâ€™s start with the minor offenses, and work our way up to the big onesâ€¦
Thereâ€™s the pot-smokingâ€¦
â€œYes, grass and hash â€” no hard drugs. But the point is that I do what I feel like doing. Iâ€™m not on a health kick.â€
â€” Arnold to Oui magazine, 1977
And thereâ€™s the anabolic-steroid abuseâ€¦
â€œI will not speak for my colleagues, but I will write of my experience with tissue-building drugs. Yes, I have used them, but no, they didnâ€™t make me what I am. Anabolic steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up.â€
â€” â€œArnold: Developing a Mr Universe Physique,â€ 1977
Groping: As of late 2003, 15 women (Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2003)
And then thereâ€™s Anna Richardson, and Joy Browne, and Rhonda Miller, and Colette Brooks, andâ€¦ Oh, heavens, we could write a book on Arnoldâ€™s unwelcome advances. But you get the idea.
â€œBodybuilders party a lot, and once in Goldâ€™s â€” the gym in Venice, California, where all the top guys train â€” there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got togetherâ€¦ but not everybody, just the guys who can fuck in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. Some think that they donâ€™t have a big-enough cock, so they canâ€™t get a hard-on.â€
â€” Arnold to Oui magazine, 1977
Alleged adultery and alleged statutory rape:
We donâ€™t want to get sued, so go Google Arnold along with â€œGigi Goyette,â€ and make up your own mind.
Posing nude in gay menâ€™s (and other) magazines:
â€œIt all went well until I asked a question that obviously upset him. It was about a nude picture of him a colleague said she had seen in a German magazine. Arnold, his smile now gone, said he was devoted to making bodybuilding a legitimate sport and would never cheapen its, or his, image by posing in the nude. Chastened, I asked a few more quick questions, then ended the interview. â€¦
â€œBack at the paper, I told my colleague that Schwarzenegger denied the nude photo story. To prove she was telling the truth, she brought the magazine to work the next day. There he was, smiling that gap-toothed smile, full-frontally naked as a jaybird. It wasnâ€™t a snapshot, but what looked like a studio pose. It was later published in America in Spy Magazine â€” along with Arnoldâ€™s jokey explanation of it.â€
â€” Patrick MacDonald, recalling a
1976 interview with Schwarzenegger
Seattle Union Record, November 22, 2000
Whatâ€™s worse than drug use, sexual assault, and general misogyny:
Being a Nazi apologist. One of Arnoldâ€™s close, personal friends was the late Kurt Waldheim â€” and Arnold doesnâ€™t deny the fact, nor apologize for it.
Not only did Schwarzenegger invite Waldheim to his wedding (to Kennedy-turncoat Maria Shriver), but, according to Wendy Leighâ€™s biography, toasted Waldheim at the event, expressing nothing less than love for the notorious Jew-killer (who had the sense not to attend, but who did send a wedding gift):
â€œMy friends donâ€™t want me to mention Kurtâ€™s name, because of all the recent Nazi stuff and the U.N. controversy, but I love him and Maria does too, and so thank you, Kurt.â€
Partial redemption: Schwarzenegger is not an anti-Semite; heâ€™s made substantial donations and raised funds for various Holocaust memorials and projects.
But: That doesnâ€™t excuse his relationship with Waldheim.
But: Rabbi Marvin Hier (in the Jerusalem Post) absolved Arnold: â€œHe probably did not have any clue as to the seriousness of the allegations against Waldheim at that time.â€
But: We donâ€™t buy that, because 1) Ignorance is no excuse; and 2) a native Austrian whose own father was a Nazi stormtrooper canâ€™t be that ignorant.
Oh, guess we forgot to mention: Arnoldâ€™s father, Gustav, was a Nazi stormtrooperâ€¦ and voluntarily, at that (AP, August 24, 2003)
Whatâ€™s worse than being friends with Kurt Waldheim:
Admiring Adolf Hitler. Arnold may abhor everything Hitler stood for, but he did express â€œadmirationâ€ for the man, according to Pumping Iron director George Butler, in 1975 outtakes from the documentary:
â€œI admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power.
â€œI admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it. â€¦ The feeling like Kennedy had, you know, to speak to maybe 50,000 people at one time and having them cheer, or like Hitler in the Nuremberg Stadium. And have all those people scream at you and just being in total agreement with whatever you say.â€
Weâ€™re not saying any of this makes Arnold a Nazi â€” by all accounts, he is quite anti-Hitler, and deeply embarrassed by his fatherâ€™s Nazism. Weâ€™re saying that he canâ€™t possibly be so stupid as to have never understood the gravity of his friend Kurt Waldheimâ€™s war crimes, nor the consequences of expressing admiration for Adolf Hitlerâ€¦ nor his own unequivocable desire for Hitler-like control over the masses:
â€œI didnâ€™t think about money. I thought about the fame, about just being the greatest. I was dreaming about being some dictator of a country or some savior like Jesusâ€¦â€
â€” To Rolling Stone, June 3, 1976
â€œI was always dreaming about very powerful people, dictators and things like that. I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years, or even, like Jesus, be for thousands of years remembered.â€
â€” In the documentary Pumping Iron (1977)
â€œMy relationship to power and authority is that Iâ€™m all for it. â€¦ People need somebody to watch over themâ€¦ Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.â€
â€” To US News and World Report, 1990
As European historian Martin Lee said to Amy Goodman in 2003, â€œFor Schwarzenegger to have made [the wedding toast to Kurt Waldheim] at that time after these revelations surfaced is really quite shocking. It shows, at the very least, insensitivity to the victims of Nazism and anti-Semitism. â€¦ One way or another the point is not that Schwarzenegger is a Nazi, the point is that it raises character issues that heâ€™s not qualified to be in public office.â€
Perverse injustice: He was still elected governor of California in 2003.
Whatâ€™s even more perverse: Exit polls indicate that 44% of Arnoldâ€™s supporters were women.
Other memorable quotes from Arnold:
â€œI can look at a chick whoâ€™s a little out of shape and if she turns me on, I wonâ€™t hesitate to date her. If sheâ€™s a good fuck, she can weigh 150 pounds, I donâ€™t care.â€
â€” To Oui magazine, 1977
â€œAt the Mr. Olympia contest in 1972, we had girls backstage giving head, then all of us went out and I won.â€
â€œMen shouldnâ€™t feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodiesâ€¦. Recently I posed for a gay magazine, which caused much comment. But it doesnâ€™t bother me. Gay people are fighting the same kind of stereotyping that bodybuilders are: People have certain misconceptions about them just as they do about us. Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag businessâ€¦â€
â€œI like them with black hair, with brown hair, with red hair, with big breasts, with little breasts, with a big ass, with a little ass.â€
â€” In the documentrary Pumping Iron (1977)
â€œNeither my mother nor Maria is allowed to go out with me in pants.â€
â€” To Playboy, 1988
â€œEating isnâ€™t cheating.â€
â€” On the subject of oral sex,
to Premiere magazine, 2001
â€œNo one that has been around me would believe that a woman would be complaining about me holding her.â€
â€” To the Weekly Standard, 2002
â€œAs we were rehearsing, I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this â€” to take a woman, grab her upside down and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating in there.â€
â€” Referring to a scene in Terminator 3,
to Entertainment Weekly, 2003
â€œObviously, Iâ€™ve made statements that were ludicrous and crazy and outrageous and all those things, because thatâ€™s the way I always was.â€
â€” August, 2003
â€œI have no idea what youâ€™re talking about. I have no memory of any of the articles I did 20 or 30 years ago.â€
â€” The following day, at a press conference
â€œWhen you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, â€˜Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offerâ€™, which maybe is the case many times. But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked.â€
â€” To Esquire Magazine, 2003
â€œYes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets, and I have done things that were not right, which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people. And to those people that I have offended I want to say to them, I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because this is not what Iâ€™m trying to do.â€
â€” October 2, 2003
â€œAll his liabilities wonâ€™t matter if he needs just 21 percent of the vote. There are going to be enough Californians who donâ€™t care about the dope and the women.â€
â€” Political analyst Bruce Cain, August, 2003
â€œArnold has acknowledged that at times his behavior, while good-natured, could be rowdy and bawdy. He has apologized to those who felt offended. Arnold has stated, when he began his campaign, that he did not live his life under the expectation that he would someday be governor.â€
â€” Schwarzenegger spokesman Sean Walsh, October 5, 2003
â€œWhat a world. Voters have elected a serial groper to be governor of California. And women helped put him there. â€¦
â€œWhatever were they thinking? That the devil made him do it? That all men are dogs and canâ€™t help themselves?â€
â€” Mary Jo Melone, St. Petersburg Times, October 12, 2003
Divine justice: None yet, but weâ€™re sure itâ€™s on its way. Unless he becomes President.