Action star-turned-California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an astonishing apology Thursday to several women who claim they were groped by The Terminator star after casual meetings on movies sets, offices and even an elevator.
According to an article in today’s Los Angeles Times, six women, four of which would only speak anonymously, claim Schwarzenegger sexually harassed them over the last three decades. “Did he rape me? No,” one woman told The Times, who described a 1980 encounter in which she said Schwarzenegger touched her breast. “Did he humiliate me? You bet he did.”
The article is part of a six-week examination of Schwarzenegger‘s attitudes towards women, which some critics, based on past statements he has made to various publications, have labeled as misogynistic.
The potentially damaging allegations came as Schwarzenegger embarked on the “California Comeback Express Bus Tour” in San Diego, the last stage of his campaign to take over California for the GOP.
Press aides for the action star first denied the accusations, calling the story politically motivated, but a spokesman for Gov. Davis said today that neither Davis nor anyone in the anti-recall movement had anything to do with The Times story.
Schwarzenegger, however, has since changed his tune and noted that although many of the stories were politically motivated, “Where there is smoke there is fire.”
“And so what I want to say to you is that, yes, I have behaved badly sometimes,” the actor said. “Yes, 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 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 I tried to do.’ “
Schwarzenegger went on to say he would be a “champion for women” if elected and said he hoped voters would give him “the chance to prove it.” Schwarzenegger then switched back into campaign mode and told a cheering crowd that it was now time to “go from dirty politics and back to the future of California.”
The GOP candidate ends his four-day, statewide bus tour Sunday in Sacramento with a performance by Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider, whose hard rock tune “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is the theme of Schwarzenegger‘s campaign.