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Oct. 3, 2003, 11:38PM

Charges against Schwarzenegger mount

Religious leaders, women to protest

Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Women's groups and religious leaders worked feverishly Friday to galvanize opposition to Arnold Schwarzenegger after he acknowledged treating women badly and responded to reports that he told an interviewer he admired Adolf Hitler.

A coalition of women's groups met at the Feminist Majority offices here to unveil an anti-Schwarzenegger ad campaign and introduce a former TV network intern who said the gubernatorial candidate groped her when she showed him around a sound stage 25 years ago.

She was one of several women -- including radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne -- to come forward Friday with new allegations Schwarzenegger groped or made inappropriate comments to them. The allegations echo complaints made by other women against the Republican front-runner in the election to recall Gov. Gray Davis.

Criticism also poured in from religious leaders and the state's top Democrats for remarks attributed to the actor in 1975 that he admired Hitler's ability to rise from humble beginnings. Schwarzenegger also played Nazi marches and mimicked SS officers, according to the director of the 1975 bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron.

Stories by ABC News and The New York Times said the actor told an interviewer during the filming of Pumping Iron that he admired Hitler's rise to power and wished he could have experienced the thrill Hitler must have had in speaking to huge audiences who agreed with everything he said.

The news organizations said the remarks were contained in transcripts from a book proposal made by Pumping Iron director George Butler.

"To express admiration for a person directly responsible for the death of tens of millions of people during World War II is beyond comprehension," said Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., the only Holocaust survivor in Congress. "I think it probably ends any political ambition he may have had."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called praise for Hitler "appalling," and Davis said it was "unconscionable."

On Thursday Schwarzenegger acknowledged and apologized for having "behaved badly sometimes" around women, but said he could not imagine saying anything positive about Hitler, whom he said he despised.

The Schwarzenegger campaign released a statement from Butler on Friday saying the transcripts were part of a private document he never intended for a wide audience.

"As I have made clear to The New York Times and ABC, statements by Schwarzenegger (taken from the Pumping Iron outtakes) were not in context and not even strictly accurate as it turns out from a closer reading of a copy of what (I believe) to be a transcript of the original, now found after many years," Butler said.

He added that he does not have the Pumping Iron outtakes.

On Friday, the second day of Schwarzenegger's four-day bus tour of the state, as more women came forward to claim sexual misconduct, the actor ignored the allegations, and some his supporters laughed them off.

"He can grope me," one woman shouted at a campaign stop in Santa Clarita. Some supporters held signs reading: "Gray Davis groped me ... While reaching for my wallet."

Representatives of the Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women, CodePink and other women's groups said they were organizing demonstrations around the state.


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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