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Tabloid Tried to Suppress Videotape

American Media bought a risque Schwarzenegger movie soon after the future governor joined the recall campaign.

September 12, 2005|Peter Nicholas | Times Staff Writer

Playboy licensed the video rights to another company, Elite Home Video, and reacquired the rights in the early 1990s, said Bill Farley, a spokesman for Playboy Enterprises.

When Schwarzenegger entered the recall campaign, there was renewed interest in the video, Farley said. Playboy considered releasing a DVD version but refrained, Farley said. He said he did not know why. Copies were being sold on the Internet, and the tape briefly flared as an issue in the campaign.

A Schwarzenegger spokesman at the time cast the video as "PG-13 material."

Wells signed an initial agreement with American Media on Aug. 22, 2003 -- two weeks after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy. In exchange for $500, Wells agreed to "provide AMI with information regarding [the] Arnold Schwarzenegger tape" and to not discuss it with anyone else, according to the contract.

On Sept. 3, 2003, Wells and the company signed a second contract that paid him $1,500. In return, he relinquished his copy of the video. He also agreed to never "discuss or in any way disclose to any person other than a representative of AMI any facts relating to the videotape," according to the agreement.

The contracts have no expiration date. The second contract's time frame is given as "perpetual."

Other copies of the video remain in circulation and are still being sold on the Internet.

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