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Radio Host Tells of Incident With Actor

A campaign aide says Schwarzenegger has no recollection of alleged encounter in the 1970s.

October 03, 2003|Megan Garvey | Times Staff Writer

A well-known nationally syndicated radio host on Thursday publicly described being groped and propositioned by Arnold Schwarzenegger more than 20 years ago, when she was starting in the business and he was promoting his film "Pumping Iron."

Joy Browne, a psychologist whose advice program is syndicated to nearly 200 stations nationwide, described on the radio an encounter with Schwarzenegger that took place during an interview about the documentary, which was released in 1977.

Schwarzenegger fondled her legs under the table during the interview, she said.

Then, she said, he left his Gold American Express card in the studio and insisted that Browne personally return it to his hotel room.

According to Browne, who was in her late 20s at the time, she took her young daughter along to return the credit card. Schwarzenegger, she said, answered the door in tight pants, wearing no shirt. He had champagne. He asked her if her daughter could "take a walk for a while?"

She declined.

Rob Stutzman, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, said Thursday that the candidate had no recollection of the alleged incident.

Browne made her statements during a morning interview on WOR-AM (710) in New York and then repeated them on her "Dr. Joy" show, which airs in the afternoon on several stations in California, including KVTA-AM (1520) in Ventura.

Browne, who spoke to the Times on Thursday, said she had never before talked publicly about the incident, which occurred at a Boston station in the late 1970s.

"I was a very young broadcaster," she said, adding that the term "sexual harassment" was not used at the time. "If this had happened even a year later I would have said, 'Cut that out, what are you doing.' "

She said she thought Schwarzenegger's advances "were a lot about power, not about sex for him."

Browne said she spoke about the encounter Thursday in order to talk about how intelligent women find themselves in uncomfortable situations.

Browne recounted the story on the air to WOR's morning host, Ed Walsh. He called Browne after having heard from a station engineer that she had had an encounter with Schwarzenegger. Walsh persuaded Browne to discuss the encounter on the air, according to her producer, Scott Lakefield.

The station engineer, Al Randall, said in an interview Thursday that he had heard the story from Browne about a decade ago. News reports of Schwarzenegger's behavior toward women prompted him to talk with Walsh and suggest an interview with Browne, Randall said.

Times staff writers Daryl Kelley and Joe Mathews contributed to this report.

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