Two years after autocratically condemning those who refused to wear facial masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollywood star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger apologised for his tone-deaf comments.
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“Screw your freedom,” Schwarzenegger declared during an interview with retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and CNN senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga, labelling those who adamantly challenged the government’s draconian measures as “schmucks.”
The Hollywood star went on, “There are still people that live in denial. There are still people that don’t believe in masks. There are still people out there that say, ‘Well, you don’t have to do social distancing’ and all this kind of stuff.”
“I just think that people ought to be reminded, over and over, that the experts are saying that we have to wear masks, and especially when you go indoors,” Schwarzenegger justified his authoritarianism. “The experts are saying we still should wash our hands regularly.”
The actor would then encourage listeners to practice social distance in an effort to fend off the then-new variant of the virus — known to have a recovery rate of 97.75% at the time Schwarzenegger was calling people names for refusing to wear masks.
“We should still do social distancing, especially now with this new comeback of the virus — which is the fourth round now — and that we really have to go and work together on that,” he said.
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Almost two years later, Schwarzenegger finally addressed his controversial comments, taking to social media to apologise for his “screw your freedom” remark and claiming that he didn’t know how to properly communicate what he really meant to say.
The topic was brought to the actor’s attention when a user on Twitter noted that Schwarzenegger’s new podcast, Arnold’s Pump Club on Apple Podcasts, had become one of his favourite programmes.
“I am loving Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new podcast, ” @LordAbrasivism said. “It’s 3 days old, but quickly becoming the most positive corner of the internet on health, fitness and wellness. There’s something motivating about hearing from Arnie every day. Time for the Gym!”
Twitter user [email protected] replied to the post, noting that he wanted to check out the former bodybuilder’s podcast but added he has “a hard time getting over Arnold ‘F—k Your Freedom’ Schwarzenegger,” making clear allusion to the actor’s tone-deaf comments during the pandemic.
“I want to thank you for your open-mindedness. I think we should be able to disagree without being enemies,” replied Schwarzenegger in response to the exchange between the users above, particularly quote-tweeting @LordAbrasivism who declared he “wasn’t a fan” of the actor’s stance but admitted that he understands where he was coming from.
“I’m sorry for saying those words,” Schwarzenegger apologised. “I try to be relentlessly positive, but sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me,” he added before concluding, “I should have communicated better.”
A handful of users were not convinced by the former California governor’s apology, respectfully taking to the comments section to express their opinions.
“Sounds like Arnie is suggesting removing freedoms was correct but the language he used to communicate it was the problem,” wrote @AhhereLIO, adding, “Not good enough.”
“That is not enough,” echoed @BobLeithiserPhD, adding, “You need to make financial restitution to the families affected and apologize to the victims.”
The disappointed user elaborated, “An apology that does not involve repentance and doing all in your power to make things right is worthless.”
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“No forgiveness,” bluntly stated another user, adding, “People listened to people like you and you created hate between friends, families and neighbours.”
“How about no?” simply read a comment by another user unwilling to accept Schwarzenegger’s apology, sharing a comic strip from cartoonist Bob Moran, which perfectly illustrates the hypocrisy of those looking to propose a pandemic amnesty.
“I used to be a BIG fan, But I have to say, this is not really an apology,” condemned @HutorBell. “And especially coming from an Austrian who should know A LOT better what can happen once we start taking people’s freedoms away – this is quite weak, to say the least.”
Twitter user @hydromerchant pointed out that masks are not 100% effective against COVID-19, writing, “Arnold, we all read the side of a protein jug, or the creatine supplements we all take.”
“Do the same for a box of masks, even N95 masks,” the user encouraged. “The SDS/manufacturer guidance is clear. No mask prevents or reduces the probability of contracting Covid-19 while wearing the mask.”
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In October of 2020, Breitbart reported that a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the vast majority of COVID-19 patients were mask wearers.
Largely ignored by mainstream media, the CDC study revealed that 85% of individuals being admitted into health care centres wore masks “always” or “often” in public.
The sample consisted of 314 patients — 154 of which being “case-patients”(symptomatic) and the remaining 160 being part of the control group (symptomatic who tested negative). Interestingly, the results revealed that masks did not make a significant difference in preventing the spread of the virus.
“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control-participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public,” read the report, noting that among the case-patients who wore a mask, four percent “never” wore a mask, another four percent “rarely” wore it, and a seven percent admitted to “sometimes” wearing one.
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