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The State | THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them

The acts allegedly took place over three decades. A campaign aide denies the accusations.

October 02, 2003|Gary Cohn, Carla Hall and Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writers

"All I was really thinking was, 'I'd like to go.' I was trying to figure out how to get his hand off my butt and his arm away from me without making a big deal of it. I remember thinking, 'Geez, that's a strong arm.' ... I was just thinking, 'Let me get out of here.' "

She said she looked at the ceiling and looked at her boss, who kept repeating, "We've got to go now. We've got to go now,' and yanking my arm. My boss did the best she could to get me away."

The secretary said Schwarzenegger released her after about 20 seconds.

Later, as they left the production office, the secretary said her flustered supervisor remarked, "Oh, my gosh! I had no idea he would do that." The secretary said she replied: "Oh, well, no big deal."

"I was sort of embarrassed in front of her. It just felt strange."

A day or two later, Schwarzenegger called her boss' office, and the secretary said she answered the phone. "He figured out it was me and he said, 'Oh, you still haven't come to work out with me.' " She said she did not respond and simply put her boss on the line.

Six or seven years later, the secretary recalled, she walked past Schwarzenegger on a studio lot. "No recognition. No looking," she said.

Now 47, she has been in and out of the entertainment business. After a long period of unemployment, she said she now has another secretarial job at a movie studio and does not want to risk losing it by being publicly identified. She also declined to provide the name of her boss on the Columbia lot.

She has, however, recounted the story numerous times through the years -- initially as a warning to other women with whom she worked. Yet the secretary said most women she knows in and around the entertainment business were untroubled by the incident.

"I was like, 'He's disgusting, he's revolting.' They said, 'No, he's hot.' The attitude of women was more upsetting than he was."

She also told the story to a friend, Michael Collins, a freelance writer and a director of the Los Angeles Press Club. In an interview with The Times, Collins said that she recounted the episode to him eight months ago -- well before the recall race. "She never thought he might run for governor," he said.

'This Is Disgusting'

In late 1990, Schwarzenegger was in the San Bernardino County town of Fontana, shooting "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." According to a female crew member, Schwarzenegger harassed her on several occasions.

She recalled encountering the actor in an elevator as she headed downstairs to the pool of the hotel where the cast and crew were staying. On each occasion, she said, she was wearing a terrycloth robe over a black, one-piece Speedo swimsuit.

"At least three times -- if not more -- he would end up in the elevator with me, groping me and trying to take my robe off," said the crew member, now 41 and still working in the movie industry.

"He would pin me against the corner in the elevator" and try to take off her robe and pull down the straps of her suit, she said.

The incidents did not last long, she said, because the elevator ride was short.

The woman said her response to Schwarzenegger's actions evolved with each incident. "The first time, you're like, "Oh, my God! I was groped by Arnold Schwarzenegger!' The second time you're like, 'This is disgusting.' The third time you're like, 'Get the ... away from me.' "

She said she told her boss, who advised her, "Just stay away from him."'

After that, the woman said, she would check the hotel hallway before entering the elevator. She said if Schwarzenegger got into the pool, she would get out.

"What could you do? He was the highest-paid actor in the world. I was a peon," she said. "The only thing you could do is stay away from him."

The crew member said she told her husband about the elevator confrontations in 1992 or 1993. "I heard this story a long time ago," her husband confirmed.

The couple spoke with The Times only after repeated assurances that their names would be kept confidential. "I'm a professional in the film business," she said. "I fear retribution."

Another woman, now a wife and mother in her 30s, said she also fell in Schwarzenegger's "sight lines" while working as a crew member on "Terminator 2" in Fontana.

She said Schwarzenegger was sitting in a director's chair, surrounded by three or four other men, waiting for filming to start. It was either late afternoon or early evening, she said.

"I was walking on the set and Arnold called out, 'Come here, you sexy devil,' and reached out and pulled me on to his lap," the woman recalled.

She said he then whispered in her ear: "Have you ever had a man slide his tongue in your [anus]?"

"I didn't know how to react," the woman said. "It was bizarre. What he said was so specifically sexual, it was bizarre.

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