Arnie re­grets ‘step­ping over the line’ with women

Waikato Times - - World -

When it comes to sex­ual ha­rass­ment, Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger ad­mits he was once part of the prob­lem. But he says he took con­crete steps to bring about change on both a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional level, long be­fore #MeToo.

In 2003, a month be­fore Sch­warzeneg­ger be­came gover­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, The Los An­ge­les Times pub­lished a story in which six women ac­cused the ac­tor of grop­ing them be­tween the 1970s and 2000.

‘‘Look­ing back, I stepped over the line sev­eral times, and I was the first one to say sorry. I feel bad about it, and I apol­o­gise,’’ he told Men’s Health in an in­ter­view pub­lished next week.

Hav­ing learned his les­son, he set about try­ing to make sure those mis­takes were never re­peated un­der his watch.

‘‘When I be­came gover­nor, I wanted to make sure that no-one, in­clud­ing me, ever makes this mis­take,’’ he ex­plained. ‘‘That’s why we took sex­ual ha­rass­ment cour­ses, to have a clear un­der­stand­ing, from a le­gal point of view and also from a reg­u­lar-be­hav­iour point of view, of what is ac­cepted and what is not.’’ And while Sch­warzeneg­ger, 71, said his views on mas­culin­ity have not changed sub­stan­tially, he does re­gret call­ing his op­po­nents ‘‘girlie men’’ when he was run­ning for of­fice.

Even­tu­ally, he re­alised that an­tag­o­nis­ing the peo­ple he needed to work with only net­ted him a funny sound­bite.

‘‘At the time it felt like the right thing to do. It was in my gut. I im­pro­vised it. I called them girlie men be­cause they weren’t will­ing to take risks,’’ he said. ‘‘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.’’

Sch­warzeneg­ger, who gov­erned as a Repub­li­can but re­fused to en­dorse Don­ald Trump’s can­di­dacy and has since crit­i­cised the pres­i­dent’s en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and di­vi­sive rhetoric and cam­paigned to end ger­ry­man­der­ing, ex­pressed a longing for the days when Wash­ing­ton was far less tribal.

‘‘If you have a lit­tle sense of his­tory, you know that the best things are ac­com­plished when both par­ties work to­gether and start com­pro­mis­ing, like Ron­ald Rea­gan did with (then-Demo­cratic House Speaker) Tip O’Neill,’’ he said. – TNS

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