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Arnold Schwarzenegger would like to shove Arianna Huffington’s head into a toilet

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Holy shit.

No pun intended.

I didn’t watch the debate, in keeping with my policy since 9-11 of not watching TV, so I don’t know about any body language or other signal that might mitigate his shocking statement, but these could be the 20 words that bring down the Terminator.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger really say this to Arianna Huffington?

“I would just like to say that I just realized I have a perfect part for you in ‘Terminator 4.”‘


Especially given the context–Huffington raised the issue of “the way you treat women”–how could he be referring to anything else but his much-publicized pleasure in shoving an actress’s face into a toilet?

From the recent Entertainment Weekly article:

“But nothing in T3 bears Schwarzenegger’s creative stamp more than his epic tussle with the Terminatrix, a battle that begins in a bathroom. The sequence was made longer and more elaborate thanks to the actor’s largess — and his singular imagination.

“‘As we were rehearsing, I saw this toilet bowl,’ says Schwarzenegger, an impish smile crossing his face. ‘How many times do you get away with this – to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating in there,’ he adds. Apparently, he was vetoed. ‘They thought it was my typical Schwarzenegger overboard,’ he says. ‘The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn’t do it to a woman – she’s a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group.'”

And now he says to Arianna Huffington, “I would just like to say that I just realized I have a perfect part for you in ‘Terminator 4″‘?

I’m on record as not being too terribly concerned about Arnold’s past orgies with men and/or women. As a former candidate for governor, I wouldn’t want people to hold my past sexual excesses against me, either. Some stuff I don’t even remember, but I’m pretty sure someone took pictures, so there’s a glass-house thing going on here.

And in fairness, I’m sure lots of people at one point or another have wanted to shove Arianna Huffington’s face into a toilet. And I’m not saying these private fantasies are, per se, wrong, in one’s own head. There are no thought crimes. Whatever floats your boat, as long as it stays in your boat.

But this guy wants to be the governor of California. And he said this during a public debate.

Even if you find Arnold Schwarzenegger’s casual misogyny amusing (I personally find it frightening), isn’t there a fatal judgment problem here for a would-be governor?

CNN suggests Arnold made this statement in a time specifically allotted for rebuttal:

Allowed to rebut what Statham ruled was a personal attack, Schwarzenegger said, “I would just like to say that I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in ‘Terminator 4.'” He also suggested that she might need “more decaf.”

I’m dying to know the inside story here. Was it:

a) A planned line approved by his boy’s club of advisors?

b) A planned line that he composed but didn’t run by his advisors?

c) Something Schwarzenegger thought of in the moment?

I’m guessing b). It’s hard to imagine that even an all-male team of advisors would fail to realize how awful that laugh line would be in the aftermath. And given that Arnold did obviously prepare zingers to use against Huffington, it’s just unlikely that he thought of the line in a few seconds in the debate rather than in the hours of prep.

This needs to get Trent Lotted. Arnold’s degrading zinger is just like Trent Lott’s pro-segregation comment. It’s the kind of statement that makes you shake your head when it happens, and then move on…

Except…when you think about it…did he really effing say that?

The more I reflect on it, the more it seems insane. Could a candidate for governor who is desperately trying to turn around his deservedly poor image with California women have said anything more stupid?

Does he have a compulsion to say things like this?

I’m not a political pundit, but I play one on the Web from time to time. And this faux-pundit predicts that Arnie is cooked. As a result of those 20 words, he’s gonna get Code Pinked back to Hollywood.

And, in T4, when he shoves a red-haired Greek actress’s face into a toilet, I bet he will have “something floating in there.”

[Also posted to Brian Flemming’s Weblog] [Entry corrected 9-25-03. Entertainment Weekly quote mistakenly attributed to Esquire magazine.]

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About Brian Flemming

  • Richard Bennett

    Just for curiosity, Brian, would you happen to be gay? I ask because you don’t sound like a man who spends a great deal of time with real women, who aren’t actually likely to be offended by Arnold’s swatting an annoying little mosquito in Sacramento.

  • Eric Olsen

    I didn’t see it either but just from your description it’s clear the statement was a joke, was meant to be taken as a joke, the action in question didn’t take part in real life but in the context of a movie, and directed at one person, not women in general. He didn’t say he had a part in T4 for all the women of California. Maybe the joke wasn’t particularly funny, maybe it was in somewhat poor taste, maybe it was just plain stupid, but it doesn’t seem like a very big deal to me.

  • Phillip Winn

    Brian, considering that Arnold spent most of the movie getting his butt kicked by the Terminatrix, and roughly a half-second getting the best of her with a porcelain bowl, I’d say that shoving her head in a toilet is roughly that last thing anybody not gunning for Arnold would think of from T3. And yet, strangely, it’s what Huffington mentioned after the debate, and it has magically become a talking point.

    A little independent thought instead of mindless parroting comes up with any number of possibilities. How about the most obvious possibility, that Arnold was simply suggesting that she is a bad person who just won’t quit?

    This is ridiculous. General Clark gets his words twisted and reinterpreted so that he didn’t even make a mistake (which he clearly did), while Arnold’s words get twisted into suggesting that he wants to smear feces on all women.

    Grow up!

  • Natalie Davis

    I am hardly a Schwarzenegger fan, but when I heard Ah-nuld make the statement, and before I knew that Huffington had commented on it, my mind went directly to that scene of the Terminator shoving a female robot’s head into a commode. I believe that is exactly what had to motivate the Austrian’s revolting comment. No parroting involved.

  • Ellen Dyke

    Arnold remarked on the Oprah Winfrey show that pumping iron was better than coming, much to the horror of his wife sitting next to him. So his comments about shoving a woman’s face in a toilet continues to reveal his ineptness in politics. Gray Davis’ chances of winning his own recall election are getting better every day.

  • Phillip Winn

    Ellen – Arnold did not say anything about doing anything to any woman. I admit surprise that Natalie thought of that brief scene from the movie independently, but then Natalie is probably smarter than I am.

    I listened to the interchange this morning and again all I got from the comment was that Arnold saw Huffington as a “bad guy” in the mold of the Terminatrix. But then I’m not trying to shread Arnold.

  • Chris Arabia

    I find the character of his candor refreshing, but the content of his candor questionable.

    I think I need to sit down.

    Anyway, I have seen Gary Coleman on TV and if I still lived in Calimafornia I’d vote for GC in a hypothetical runoff (I know there is no runoff) over GD, CB, AH, or even AS. Sticking it to Sacto is a must.

    One question: how many of Arnie’s weird statements stem from the questions, and how many are indigenous, so to speak. Sober responses preferred.

  • Phillip Winn

    The remark about pumping iron was in response to a pretty straight-forward question, and the comment about having a part for Arianna in T4 was a standalone comment when he was given a chance to respond to a jab from Arianna over “that’s how you treat women” (because he was trying to interrupt her, which was common in the debate). So it was a humorous jab and got a lot of laughs, as her jab had earlier. Nothing more, to most people, excepting Arianna and Natalie.

  • Ellen Dyke

    Phillip, Okay, so I didn’t see the debate and was only going by what I read here so I formed an opinion without knowing all the facts (a national problem!), but I still think Arnold comes across as one who is going to get in alot of trouble from thoughtless comments and inexperience in the political arena.

  • Phillip Winn

    Oh, sure, no question. He’s an idjit when it comes to politics. However, that’s that sort of thing that plays well with “outsider” votes, which is why he is seen as the candidate to trash while McClintock is generally dismissed.

    Anyway, he’s thoughtless (though I suspect some of that is calculated), but spinning his comments into some hateful commentary is just weird.

  • Natalie Davis

    I doubt I am smarter than you, Phillip. It’s just when I think of the Terminator films, the commode scene stuck with me more than any other.

  • Phillip Winn

    It’s funny, but I *still* can’t visualize the part where he does that. I remember her slamming his head completely through a urinal, and him throwing her through a wall (and vice-versa) and a few other things, but the actual head-in-the-commode moment escapes me. Maybe I blinked during that part.

    I’m not doubting you, Natalie, I’m just trying to figure out why I don’t remember it. Scenes that stick out from that movie for me include the Terminatrix’ inital appearance on Rodeo Drive (sorry, I’m not running for office, ever, so I’ll call ’em as I see ’em, and that actress definitely has a nice posterior), the bit where Arnie punches a truck until he runs out of batteries, the bit where Arnie is on the end of a crane and being rammed through buildings and whatnot, the really nifty part where the Terminatrix reconfigures herself backwards to get the upper hand on Arnie, and the coffin full of guns.

    And of course, the end, which I won’t detail here except to say that the movie was actually much better than I expected and worth watching.

    I didn’t remember the bathroom scene at all until I heard Arianna’s comment on the radio this morning, and even then I can’t visualize the commode. Ah well. You are smarter than I am!

  • Natalie Davis

    Nah. Probably just mure attuned to episodes — fictional and otherwise — of misogyny.

  • Eric Olsen

    But is it misogyny if the “bitch is trying to kill you” (quoting Ice-T), or simply self-defense?

    I always find it amusing when the typically hushed-up incidence of female on male domestic violence comes up – that just doesn’t fit the picture from either angle and is generally ignored.

  • Phillip Winn

    Eric, I don’t want to get too far off-topic, but it’s probably already too late for that. Since you mention female-on-male domestic violence, I have to say that this is one case in which I think that the statistics are misleading.

    Yes, all the statistics seem to say that women beat men more than men beat women. And yet I think it must be clear to even the most casual of observers that women are rarely the stronger or more viciously capable half of any couple. Yes, there are plenty of women out there who could easily kick my butt. But those women tend to be married to men whose butt would not necessarily be kicked so easily as mine.

    All broad generalizations, I know, and statistics are used in misleading ways on both sides of this issue, but I can already hear the strident claims ringing through my ears that men are the big victims and so on, and I just don’t see it as true.

    Put another way, both the woman who slaps her husband across the face once and the man who gets drunk and beats his wife until he knocks out a tooth are considered “an incident of domestic violence.” Yes, the genders could easily be reversed on that statement, but I don’t know any men who have had a tooth knocked out by their wives, and I know two women in one family alone that have been beaten by their husbands.

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t disagree with any of that – I don’t think men are the real victims other than in rare cases – and I agree the damage done by men is typically worse than the damage done by women. I still think it’s funny that men don’t much like to admit that they are womped by women, and women don’t want to acknowledge that they sometimes do the womping.

  • Mac Diva

    Well, I just checked the pertinent parts and I seem to be a real woman. I didn’t see the debate, but have read enough about Schwarzenegger to believe he does have a problem with misogyny.

  • Natalie Davis

    I am a firm believer that women who abuse men are just as horrible as men who abuse women. And women do themselves no favors when they refuse to acknowledge that spousal abuse does go both ways.

  • Doc

    As an aside for the author, why do people that don’t watch television keep having to remind everyone they don’t?

    Ref: The Onion!

  • Brian Flemming

    why do people that don’t watch television keep having to remind everyone they don’t?


    Because we’re superior to everyone else.

    If you didn’t watch TV you could probably see that.

    Now, excuse me, I have to go and do something other than watching television.

  • Phillip Winn

    Haha! Brian, thanks for making me laugh. I’ve had a long morning.

  • Chris Arabia

    “I have to go and do something other than watching television.”

    Suggestion: post my comment in response to your blog post (complete with ethnic slur) in which you discuss your strategy for not honoring your word. It’s in your e-mail. If you want to insult me by name, have the integrity to post my response.

  • Steve Rhodes

    The good thing about the comment is that Arnold realizes he isn’t going to be governor and he’ll be able to shoot T4 before he launches his 2006 campaign (though maybe he’ll be smart and just donate 10 million to charity next time).

    It was clear that Arnold wants to shove Arianna’s head in shit. I can’t find the quote now, but after the debate he said anyone who has seen the movie knows what I mean.

  • Eric Olsen

    MD, very glad to hear nothing is out of place – periodic inventories are important, not that I ever doubted your real womanliness (singing “to be reeeaaalll” by Cheryl Lynn)

    Natalie, you can be counted upon to be fair, a reliable balm in this mean old world.

    TV is great if it is used and doesn’t use you.

  • Brian Flemming

    I don’t watch television.

  • Natalie Davis

    I do. Watching “The Simpsons” right now. No apologies.

  • Chris Arabia

    “TV… it gives so much, and takes so little.”

    — Homer

  • Natalie Davis

    God love Homer, but he doesn’t have much to take.

  • TDavid

    Brian Flemming – you don’t watch TV? Just think of all the great reality TV you are missing! lol

  • Richard Bennett

    “Well, I just checked the pertinent parts and I seem to be a real woman. I didn’t see the debate, but …”

    Now that’s what I call an informed opinion.

    Arianna has learned how to be a Real American Feminist – spend the first hour baiting, attacking, insulting, and interrupting the real candidates, and then play the victim when one of them gets annoyed and takes the bait.

    My brother said it best: she needs to get laid.

  • Natalie Davis

    Real American Chauvanist

  • Natalie Davis

    Oops. Chauvinist.

  • anonymized

    One person’s abuse of another neither makes nor means that abuse to be gender-neutral. His getting slammed through a urinal was an equally potent gesture against a man, according to the pleasure, which he, himself, has expressed, in his abuse of women. It’s a sort of inverse of what he, apparently, wanted to do with Arianna (both genders use toilets; females use only them; only males use urinals), if her part were to be anything like the Terminatrix.

    “How many times do you get away with this…she’s a machine!”

    While I can appreciate the separation between fictionalized, female-human-being-like women, which are robots, and actual, real, flesh-and-blood, female human beings, which are women, the high, for Arnold, clearly, was not in the fiction, but in its relation to *real* women. This should gravely concern anyone considering him for governor, because he may subject those, whom he perceives as being women — or, even, just, womanly — to the same calculations by which he has created fictional roles, for women, in Hollywood. Which, as he has demonstrated, tend toward misogyny, not because they end up being misogynist roles, but because he is misogynist.

  • Thomas M. Sipos

    The next day, KFI’s “Ken & John” talk radio show was deluged with women callers — CHEERING Arnold. All agreed that Huffington came across as a “shrew” (a characterization heard more often than “bitch”) and that Arnold’s comment was “not harsh enough.”

    Of course, talk radio is not a scientifc survey, but certainly many female voters are not offended by Arnold.

  • Natalie Davis

    Of course, many talk-radio fans are right-wingers. Perhaps these women are Phyllis Schlafly types who revere The Rules.

  • Steve Rhodes

    The Chronicle has an article on the controversy.

  • Richard Bennett

    Of course the more important question is why Arianna was even on the panel in the first place. She’s clearly not a serious candidate, and is just pretending to run a campaign in order to sell some more of her dreadful books. She clearly had the intent to disrupt the debate, and to the extent that the discussion is about her and not about the serious candidates and issues, she succeeded.

    Her puppet-master, Bill Maher, must be very proud, given that he’s a “Stop the Recall” campaigner using Arianna to do his dirty work.

  • Richard Bennett

    Come to think of it, this Flemming character is also shilling for Davis. I wonder if he and Arianna get their orders from the same fax machine in Sacramento.

  • Darrell

    Next Executive of Califoria

    Gropenor Swasticanegger

    Vote Bush for Anti-Christ

  • Darrell

    Fitting he will become governater by the will of the Cyber-Ballot.
    Like terminatrix, we should Diebold-ly

  • Brian Flemming

    John and Ken are conservative, no doubt. That even their vagina-possessing audience members thought Arianna was a shrew and a bitch even before the debate is pretty much a safe assumption, so I’m not sure their calls can be considered a survey of any value.

    Btw, I was on their show.

    Shilling for Davis? I can’t believe how much I’ve been misunderstood. I’ve been shilling for Bustamante from the start.

    Who do you think it was that got him into the race?

  • robert tedesco

    Mr Fleming. What planet are you on?
    Arianna Huffington is a master at playing all sides for political advantage.A limo liberal if ever there was.When asked the question”Are you not a political cameleon?” she answers” I don’t know what that means!”
    As for California Women, being outraged at Arnolds sexual behavior,I am puzzled. When I who lived in California in the 60’s I enjoyed the same lifestyle with the girls in California.Being a nice looking guy with a world class car and sharp clothes,I never saw the same girl twice unless I wanted to.
    I hardly can picture adult California Women becoming outraged at sexual antics.

  • Natalie Davis

    I wish they all could be California girls…

    Seriously, I doubt that all “vagina-possessing” Californians (that was great, Brian) march in lockstep on sexual issues. Even in Hollyweird, you will find some sexually conservative women w ho look askance at promiscious behavior and participation in orgies.

  • Brian Flemming

    Yeah, I hate it when they look at me like that.

  • Derek

    You people are all complete fucking morons! “Much publicized pleasure in shoving an actresses face into a toilet?” Guys that don’t watch tv since 9-11? What the FUCK is wrong with you airheads? Do any of you have college educations? I can’t even believe how incredibly STUPID your posts are!!!
    Arianna Huffington is a completely useless human being. Credibility being the largest factor of any candidate for governor, she has absolutely none. Also, why does she spend so much time focusing on Arnold? I believe it is because she has nothing to say. Throughout the debate of the four top candidates, she stumbled and acted like a complete fool. When she was called on her (many) flaws, she just smiled because she had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to back her up.
    I am not biased against woman in politics, but this is one extreme exception…she makes a major disgrace of both men and women alike. I would trust a mentally retarded dog more than I would trust Huffington because at least the dog is going with honest instinct. Huffington can’t even trust herself.
    This complete imbecile goes from one topic to the next trying to gain fame. Why would one think this? She gains one side, and then changes. Not once, not a couple of times, but over and over and over…you think someone trying to gain political experience would have their mind made up. She doesn’t. She’s not political material or anything close to it, and she knows it.
    For the whole gasoline thing, she is a fool to try and do anything about it. Gasoline will be used up someday, and there truly is nothing anyone can do about it. Yes, large SUV’s burn much more fuel than necessary, but what are you going to do jesse? Reinstall an engine in every single SUV? You can put electric engines in every single vehicle that comes out, do you think the import car/motorcycle racers, muscle car buffs, etc are going to switch to hybrid engines as well? You think that they are going to try and conserve gas? Gas is a finite source, and when it runs out, we have electricity to back it up.
    Someone said that Arianna is famous because she’s famous. She has absolutely no significance of any kind, and never will. I entered all four top candidates as neutral, and now despise Arianna more at an extreme level…almost even to the level of backwards racist candidates from back in history!
    Anyone that likes or supports Huffington in any way, please WAKE UP and research her before you put any effort whatsoever into her campaign or anything else that has to do with her in a positive fashion.



  • Mac Diva

    WE are stupid?

    Methinks Derek is a typical ‘smart’ Schwarzenegger supporter.