Why Do People Hate Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Arnold Schwarzenegger Conundrum Explored

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most famous and recognizable people in the world. As a bodybuilder, he won Mr. Olympia a record seven times. He then went on to have a hugely successful movie career, starring in blockbuster hits like The Terminator, Predator, and Total Recall. Schwarzenegger later entered politics, serving as the Republican Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

However, despite his fame and accomplishments, Schwarzenegger has also attracted a fair share of haters over the years. Here are some of the main reasons why certain groups dislike or criticize Schwarzenegger:

Allegations of Sexism and Misogyny

Some people feel that Schwarzenegger has a history of misogynistic behavior and sexist comments:

Past Sexual Misconduct Allegations

  • In 2003, six women accused Schwarzenegger of sexually harassing and groping them without consent in the 1970s and 1980s. He apologized for having “behaved badly sometimes” but denied the most serious allegations.

Sexist remarks

  • He was caught on tape in 2000 saying he “doesn’t give a f***” if a female legislator supports his political agenda, implying her gender makes her less important.
  • In a 1977 interview with Oui magazine, he talked about cheating on his then-wife Maria Shriver and said he “felt like a conqueror” after sleeping with women on movie sets.

Portrayal of Women in Films

  • Female characters in Schwarzenegger’s films were often stereotypically portrayed as sex objects or damsels in distress.
  • In the Terminator films, the Sarah Connor character was depicted more as a victim needing protection than an independent heroine.

Political Controversies as California Governor

Schwarzenegger’s time as Governor of California from 2003-2011 was marked by several controversies:

Accusations of Conflicts of Interest

  • Critics said his corporate ties and entrepreneurial ventures presented inevitable conflicts of interest in his role as governor.
  • There were concerns he used his political position to benefit businesses he was involved with.

Budget Struggles and Partisanship

  • Schwarzenegger inherited a huge state budget deficit. Some felt his adjustments exacerbated problems for the poor while being easier on corporations.
  • His battles with Democratic legislators over budget disagreements led to two government shutdowns.

Perception as an Outsider

  • As a Republican with no political experience, many saw him as an outsider unfamiliar with how California politics operated.
  • This outsider status made building coalitions and consensus more difficult for him at times.

Personal Life Scandals and Controversies

Arnold has faced scandals and controversies in his personal life over the years:

Infidelity and Divorce

  • In 2011 it was revealed that Schwarzenegger had an affair and secret child with his housekeeper, which ultimately led to his divorce from Maria Shriver.
  • The revelation significantly damaged his public reputation as a family man.

Son’s Controversies

  • His son Patrick Schwarzenegger faced criticism in 2014 for a controversial spring break video.
  • In 2018, Patrick was again involved in scandal after crashing into another car while driving under the influence of marijuana.

Initial Support for Trump

  • In 2016, Schwarzenegger reluctantly endorsed fellow Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump for president before eventually distancing himself from Trump.
  • His early support for Trump disappointed fans who expected Schwarzenegger to denounce Trump’s controversial statements.

Environmental Hypocrisy Accusations

Climate advocates have called out Schwarzenegger for perceived hypocrisy on environmental issues:

Owning Gas-Guzzling Vehicles

  • He regularly drives a Hummer H1 and other large SUVs known for poor gas mileage and emissions.
  • This seems hypocritical for someone who talks extensively about combating climate change and going green.

Ties to Oil Companies, Fracking

  • Schwarzenegger struck a branding deal in 2014 with the Saudi oil company Aramco to promote its products.
  • As governor, he accepted donations from oil companies and oversaw a huge expansion in oil and gas fracking in California.

Private Jet Travel

  • Schwarzenegger frequently travels on carbon-emitting private jets while lecturing average people to reduce their emissions.
  • In 2018 alone, it was estimated he took private jets for more than 241 flights worldwide.

Perceived Ego and Arrogance

Some see Schwarzenegger as arrogant or egotistical based on:

Bragging About Wealth, Fame

  • He is known for flaunting his wealth via luxury homes, cars, cigars, and first-class travel.
  • In his autobiography, he bragged extensively about womanizing, money, and fame.

Obsession with Personal Brand

  • As governor, he was criticized for plastering his name on everything and using taxpayer funds for self-promotion.
  • He was seen as more interested in fame and popularity than public policy.

Egocentric Personality

  • In public appearances, he can come across as supremely confident about his qualifications and importance.
  • Some see this as vain overconfidence bordering on a narcissistic personality.

Accusations of Racism and Intolerance

Schwarzenegger has also faced controversies related to race and tolerance:

Anti-Immigrant Policies as Governor

  • Despite his own immigrant background, he took a hard line against undocumented immigrants as California governor.
  • He praised the controversial Minutemen civilian border patrol group.

Homophobic Comments on Gay Marriage

  • During his 2003 governor campaign, he said gay marriage ceremonies might someday involve a marriage between a man and a dog.
  • Many in the LGBTQ community considered the comparison homophobic and out of touch.

Clelemency Denial for a Black Man

  • Just before leaving office in 2011, Schwarzenegger denied clemency for Stan Tookie Williams, a black man executed for murder despite anti-gang activism.
  • Critics saw it as a racially biased decision amidst widespread doubts about Williams’ guilt.

Accusations of Being a Bad Role Model

Some parents and child advocates have criticized Schwarzenegger as a poor role model:

Promotion of Cigars, Alcohol Use

  • He is regularly photographed smoking cigars and drinking alcohol.
  • Some see this glamorization of tobacco and alcohol as setting a bad example for youth.

Emphasis on Muscles and Violence

  • His blockbuster movies often emphasize graphic violence and glorify dangerous stunts/explosions.
  • Similarly, his bodybuilding past promoted extreme weight training and diet regimens to obtain an unrealistic physique.

Marital Infidelity

  • By cheating on his wife, some argue Schwarzenegger demonstrated immoral behavior and was not a good role model for married couples.
  • Younger fans may get the impression infidelity is commonplace and acceptable.

Perceived Hypocrisy on Family Values

Social conservatives have accused Schwarzenegger of hypocrisy regarding traditional family values:

Supporting Gay Rights

  • Despite past homophobic comments, Schwarzenegger generally supported LGBTQ rights as California governor.
  • This support contradicted his purported Republican stance as a champion of conservative family values.

Divorce and Infidelity

  • His infidelity and divorce in 2011 after 25 years of marriage went against notions of fidelity and lifelong marriage commitments.
  • This seemingly undermined his frequent praise of his wife and children as his top priority.

Defunding After-School Programs

  • Shortly after taking office in 2003, Schwarzenegger cut $400 million in state funding for after-school programs.
  • Critics argued this betrayed his claim that family values and quality time with children were paramount.

Perception He Lacks Substance/Intelligence

Some believe Schwarzenegger lacks real depth or intelligence:

Heavy Accent and Verbal Gaffes

  • His strong Austrian accent and occasional odd phrasing are seen by some as signs of less than fluent English.
  • As Governor, verbal gaffes sometimes made him appear uninformed or confused on policy specifics.

No College Education

  • Unlike most politicians, Schwarzenegger has no college degree after dropping out to pursue bodybuilding.
  • This feeds a perception he may lack the education and intellect for governing.

Playing Dumb Characters

  • Many of his most famous roles were strong but not very bright action heroes.
  • Repeatedly playing these dumb musclehead characters cemented an image that this is who Schwarzenegger really is.


In summary, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a complex and contradictory figure who has inspired intense reactions from supporters and detractors alike throughout his unique life journey.

His rise from Austrian bodybuilder to Hollywood action hero to governor of America’s largest state is truly remarkable. However, his conduct and decisions in both his public and personal lives have also garnered considerable criticism at times.

Allegations of sexual misconduct, political controversies, hypocrisy about environmental issues, egotism, intolerance, immorality, and more have all tarnished his reputation among certain segments of the population.

His perceived machismo, foreign accent, and lack of a college degree have led some to constantly underestimate and dismiss him as all brawn and no brains. Yet he has repeatedly defied the odds and succeeded wildly beyond expectations.

Ultimately, the reasons people dislike Arnold Schwarzenegger tend to fall into several broad categories. Some believe he mistreats or disrespects women, minorities, immigrants or other groups. Others think he is arrogant, insensitive and not as smart as his fans believe.

Environmental advocates feel he is hypocritical about climate change or other green issues. Fiscal conservatives and family values proponents often consider him a Republican in name only. Still others simply dislike his persona, voice, status as an outsider in politics, overly competitive nature or past scandals.

But even with all his flaws and detractors, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains beloved by millions around the world for his charisma, work ethic and embodiment of the American dream. He is undeniably a remarkable person who has left an indelible impact on both the entertainment and political landscapes.

The full reasons for his widespread fame versus equally widespread criticism form a complex portrait of a uniquely controversial and polarizing public figure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some feminists dislike Schwarzenegger?

Some feminists dislike Schwarzenegger due to allegations he sexually harassed or mistreated women, made misogynistic comments, and stereotypically portrayed female characters in his films as passive sex objects or victims rather than equal heroes.

How did Schwarzenegger anger environmentalists?

Environmentalists criticize Schwarzenegger for perceived hypocrisy driving gas guzzlers, taking private jets, and promoting oil companies while claiming to fight climate change.

What made Schwarzenegger unpopular with California Democrats?

California Democrats disliked Schwarzenegger for cutting social programs, battling legislators, lacking government experience, and initially supporting Republican policies like anti-immigration measures.

Why did family values conservatives turn against Schwarzenegger?

Family values conservatives soured on Schwarzenegger for supporting gay rights, divorcing his wife, defunding after-school programs, and having an affair, contradicting his professed values.

How has Schwarzenegger drawn criticism for intolerance?

Schwarzenegger has drawn criticism for making homophobic comments, praising anti-immigrant militias, denying clemency to a black prisoner, and associating with accused sexual harassers.

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