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Filmmaker in Hiding Over Book Furor

'Pumping Iron' director takes refuge in his farmhouse over quotes about Hitler attributed to Schwarzenegger.

October 05, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

George Butler, the filmmaker whose 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron" launched Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie career, has taken refuge in his New Hampshire farmhouse from the furor over a 1997 proposal he circulated for a book about the actor.

In the proposal -- tentatively titled "The Master Plan" -- Butler quoted Schwarzenegger as expressing admiration for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. On Friday, Butler released a statement saying that, while the transcript shows Schwarzenegger in fact admitting some admiration for Hitler, for instance "for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people," Schwarzenegger had quickly added, "But I didn't admire him for what he did with it."

Transcripts of the original interviews for "Pumping Iron," which were provided to The Times late Friday by Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, indicate that the comments were made in the context of Schwarzenegger's disparaging the Nazi regime.

Butler has said that he never intended for the proposal to be made public, and that it was based on preliminary, "not even strictly accurate" quotes or information. He said the proposal had not excited any initial interest with publishers. St. Martin's Press, which eventually paid him a reputed $500,000 to write the book, never saw the inflammatory proposal, Butler said Saturday.

The project eventually was abandoned. Standing on his wooden porch, Butler insisted that Schwarzenegger had played no role in his dropping the project. "Absolutely not," Butler said. "He didn't even know about it."

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Anti-Recall Vandals Hit Poet's N.H. Farmhouse

Vandals have defaced the Robert Frost farmhouse in Derry, N.H., with spray-painted slogans about the California recall election and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"And we're about as far from California as you can get," said police Sgt. Robert Smith.

Police found swastikas and the slogans "Arnold is racist," "no recall" and "Arnold is Nazi" along the south side of the house where Frost lived when he wrote some of his most famous poems.

Police said Friday afternoon that they doubted there was a connection between the poet and the vandal's slogans. But Smith said the words had been painted in an area that would be clearly visible from Route 28.

Police had made no arrests, and had no suspects.

Frost lived in the farmhouse with his wife and four children from 1900 to 1909. It was designated a national historical landmark in 1977.

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Massachusetts Governor Cancels Campaign Trip

Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, has canceled his plans to campaign with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a statement, he repeated his endorsement of Schwarzenegger's candidacy but cited "sideshow politics" as a reason to remain at home in Boston.

"It's unfortunate that the events of the last few days make it hard to focus on the issues that really matter, like jobs, the economy and reform," Romney said.

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