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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

"I remember looking around and seeing this bank of smiling faces and feeling alone," she continued. The men standing at Schwarzenegger's side, she said, "were in total support mode -- of him, not me. It was kind of like everything he did was OK, and isn't it funny and isn't it swell? It was like they were proud of him .... Nobody said, 'What are you doing? Leave her alone.' "

After the incident, she said, she continued on her way. "I didn't fall apart," she said, but added: "It's embarrassing and degrading when you're doing a job."

She did not report the incident, she said, because she was a low-level crew member. "You're in an environment where you just go with the flow." The attitude on the set was: "Isn't it flattering that Arnold is paying attention to you?"

The woman said she recounted the incident at the time to a family member. In an interview with The Times, the family member confirmed being told about the encounter and said, "Arnold thought it was kind of fun to toy with her. It embarrassed her."

The woman said she wished she "wasn't so spineless," but feared that she would be shunned in Hollywood if quoted by name.

"There's an unspoken rule in the industry," she said. "What happens on the set stays on the set."

Nancy Tafoya, who was also on the set of "Terminator 2," recalled her own encounter with Schwarzenegger. Tafoya -- who was serving as a legal guardian for 13-year-old actor Eddie Furlong, her nephew and one of the film's key characters -- said she was talking with a group of people when Schwarzenegger came up behind her and yanked her long, black hair.

Her head snapped back, she said. Although she was not injured, Tafoya said she was "shocked." The people around her, she said, started laughing.

Tafoya said she was never touched in a sexual manner by Schwarzenegger, but she saw him push his body against a female crew member.

Tafoya said she was about 15 feet from Schwarzenegger when he approached a woman wearing jeans, a shirt and tennis shoes.

She said Schwarzenegger walked across the room and faced the woman. "Then he grabbed both sides of her knees and pushed them apart and started moving his pelvis into her," Tafoya said. "It lasted about 10 seconds." She said the woman laughed nervously, and Schwarzenegger walked away.

"I thought that was incredibly offensive, and I didn't know who I was more annoyed with -- him or her," said Tafoya, a social worker. "But when I looked at her, I thought the woman didn't have much choice, because it happened so quick."

Walsh, the Schwarzenegger spokesman, said that the campaign was talking to senior crew members on the "Terminator 2" set to investigate the various incidents cited by The Times.

"We talked to members of the production crew who were in a supervisory role and they said they were not aware" of the alleged improprieties, Walsh said.

Permissive Atmosphere

Some of the dozens of people interviewed for this article stressed that the culture on movie sets tends to be rowdy and permissive. Often, the tone is set by the star, they said.

In Schwarzenegger's case, they said, his sense of humor and language is often outrageous -- but not mean-spirited. Many of his colleagues find him to be charming.

"He's fun, extremely intelligent and very professional," said stuntwoman Simone Boisseree, who worked with Schwarzenegger on four films. "I like him as a human being and think he's a decent guy."

Another stuntwoman, Chere Rae Bryson, came away with a different impression after working with Schwarzenegger on the 1990 movie "Total Recall." She said he often used vulgar words for vagina and clitoris during her contact with him during the filming.

"He was crude, boisterous and disparaging around women," she said. "In the makeup room, his language was so bad I turned around and walked out."

Bryson said Schwarzenegger seemed to have toned down his behavior when she worked with him on a second movie, "Collateral Damage," released in 2002.

"People do change as we get older," said Bryson, who was also an actress and Playboy bunny. "All of us, at one time or another, have displayed behavior that I'm sure we're not proud of. Hopefully, he's evolved from that."

Bryson said Schwarzenegger was also on his best behavior whenever his wife, Maria Shriver, was present. The couple were married in 1986. "When Maria was around, he was a gentleman," Bryson said. "When she wasn't around, he was the opposite."

One woman who says she was deeply offended by Schwarzenegger's words was a waitress at the now-defunct Bicycle Shop cafe on Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles, where the actor used to hang out with about half a dozen friends on Sunday mornings in the late 1980s.

"They always sat in my section," she said. The group was friendly and chatty with her, she said, and took their lead from Schwarzenegger. They tipped well, too. "There was definitely harmless flirtation with all of them," said the woman, who also worked sporadically as a TV actress.

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