Vocal Victims of Schwarzenegger’s Sexual Harrassment Recall Backlash

Back in 2003, the LA Times reported on allegations of sexual harassment towards women by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The story prompted more victims of the then-gubernatorial candidate to speak up, 16 in total.

The paper suffered a major backlash. 10,000 readers cancelled their subscriptions over the story. But for the women who came forward, the consequences were even more severe. Jezebel caught up with a couple of those women, and asked how speaking out affected their lives.

Colette Brooks, who was groped by Schwarzenegger while working as a CNN intern, told Jezebel she received hate mail, much of it from women.

She described “desperate measures to discredit me,” including accusing her of being politically-motivated, since Brooks had donated to Arianna Huffington’s campaign. The campaign also called her former business partner seeking dirt on her, Brooks said.

Carla Baron who was harassed by Schwarzenegger while working as a body double on the set of Twins, experienced backlash within the entertainment industry:

She was deluged with calls; hosts of an LA radio show where she’d appeared as a guest accused her of being a liar. The ABC Primetime episode she’d taped for her work as a psychic investigator was put on hold until several months later, and she was reprimanded by one of the show’s producers for potentially undermining the show’s credibility, or politicizing it.

Their accounts beg the question: How safe are working women in Hollywood? Was Schwarzenegger’s behavior the rare case, or is sexual harassment part of the culture in the entertainment industry?

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