Arnold Schwarzenegger is owning up to his past behavior.
In a new interview with Men's Health for its November issue celebrating the publication's 30th anniversary, the 71-year-old former governor of California is asked about allegations from multiple women against him that came up in 2003 when he was running for office. According to a Los Angeles Times report, six women claimed he groped them, the allegations spanning three decades. During a campaign speech in 2003, he apologized for behaving "badly" at times, though insisted that "a lot of the stuff in the story is not true."
In his new interview, Schwarzenegger further apologizes for his past behavior towards women and says he has since learned from his mistakes.
"Looking back, I stepped over the line several times, and I was the first one to say sorry," he tells the magazine. "I feel bad about it, and I apologize. When I became governor, I wanted to make sure that no one, including me, ever makes this mistake. That’s why we took sexual harassment courses, to have a clear understanding, from a legal point of view and also from a regular-behavior point of view, of what is accepted and what is not."
But he says his views of masculinity have not changed.
"I’m a guy. I would not change my view of who I am," he explains. "The woman I was originally most in love with was my mother. I respected her, and she was a fantastic woman. I always had respect for women."
One thing he does regret is once referring to his political opponents in 2004 as "girlie men" -- though not for the reason of it being seen as sexist.
"At the time it felt like the right thing to do," he shares of his controversial comment. "It was in my gut. I improvised it. I called them girlie men because they weren’t willing to take risks. They were afraid of everything. Politicians in general want to do little things so there’s no risk involved. But it was shortsighted. In the long term, it’s better to not say that, because you want to work with them."
" ... When you can reach out across the aisle and work together, you can get much more accomplished, rather than 'girlie men' or 'f**k you' or 'it’s my way or the highway,'" he later adds.
These days, Schwarzenegger urges people to take action if they don't agree with the current deeply divisive political climate.
"It will not happen if people just sit around and complain when they hear something on the news," he says. "I’m a big advocate of 'get off your f**king couch and do something about it.' If you believe there’s something being done wrong by legislators, go out and do everything you can to unseat that person. The same if you see a president acting strange: Do everything you can to unseat that president. My father said to me, 'Be useful.' Useful not only to yourself, but useful to your neighborhood, your country, the world. It entails everything. Be useful."
In January, Schwarzenegger expressed his support for his True Lies co-star, Eliza Dushku, after she went public with her allegations of sexual misconduct against the 1994 film’s stunt coordinator, Joel Kramer. Dushku was only 12 years old when she filmed the movie.
“Tom, you bet your a** all of us would have done something,” Schwarzenegger tweeted in response to co-star Tom Arnold's tweet that the cast would have taken action had Dushku come forward with the allegations at the time. “I’m shocked and saddened for Eliza but I am also proud of her -- beyond being a great talent and an amazing woman, she is so courageous.”
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