Arnold Schwarzenegger

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

What was the Accusation?

Five days before the 2003 California gubernatorial election, allegations surfaced that candidate and famed actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had humiliated them sexually by touching them inappropriately or by propositioning them for sex. Three women claimed that Schwarzenegger grabbed their breasts. A fourth claimed he had reached under her skirt and gripped her buttocks. Another alleged he tried to take her swimsuit off in a hotel elevator and a sixth woman said the actor had grabbed her, pulled her on to his lap and asked her “whether a certain sexual act had ever been performed on her.” Many in the media would refer to the scandal as “Gropegate.” Schwarzenegger’s campaign spokesperson took issue with the fact that the allegations surfaced so close to the election. He said: “We believe Democrats and others are using this to try to hurt Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign. We believe that this is coming so close before the election, something that discourages good, hard-working, decent people from running for office.”

Key Apologia Strategies:

Defeasibility, Mortification, Corrective Action, Good Intentions


“I don’t remember things that I’ve done or said 20 years ago. I don’t remember things that I’ve done 30 years ago. And I said that many of the things that are in there are not true because that’s not my behavior.”

“And then other things may be true, and in case it is, that’s why I said I want to apologize if I offended anyone, because that was not my intention.”

“Those people that I have offended, I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because that’s not what I’m trying to do.”

“Yes, I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right and I thought were playful. But now I recognize that I have offended people. And to those people I have offended, I want to say to them that I’m deeply sorry about that and I apologize because that’s not what I tried to do.”

“When I am governor I want to prove to the women that I will be a champion for the women, a champion of the women…Now let’s go from the dirty politics to the future of California.”


Campbell, D. (2003, October 3). Schwarzenegger admits behaving badly after groping claims. The Guardian. Retrieved from:

Cohn, G., Hall, C., & Welkos, R. W. (2003, October 2).  Women say Schwarzenegger groped, humiliated them. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from:

Hughes, S. A. (2011, May 17). Arnold Schwarzenegger: A history of accusations and denials. Washington Post. Retrieved from:

Schwarzenegger sorry for behaving ‘badly’ toward women (2003, October 3). CNN. Retrieved from:

Schwarzenegger acknowledges offensive behavior (2003, October 2). New York Times. Retrieved from: