Redcon1 severs ties with Arnold Schwarzenegger for 'screw your freedom' comment to anti-maskers
Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently called out anti-maskers. During an interview with CNN's Bianna Golodryga on Wednesday, August 11, The ‘Terminator’ star addressed Americans who are still "in denial" about the severity of the pandemic. And he also said, “screw your freedom” to them. This statement -- especially that phrase -- has now found repercussions. A sports nutrition brand has announced it is ending ties with Schwarzenegger because of this.
REDCON1 announced in a press release that “with a heavy heart” the brand was discontinuing all support for the Arnold Classic and the other Arnold-related events globally after Schwarzenegger made “Anti-American comments”.
Schwarzenegger said on CNN, “There is a virus here. It kills people and the only way we prevent it is: get vaccinated, wear masks, do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about, ‘Well my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.’ No, screw your freedom.”
He further said, “You have the freedom to wear no mask — but you know something? You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask. Because you are supposed to protect your fellow Americans around you.” Schwarzenegger also compared the opposition to face masks to traffic laws, arguing that neither are infringements on our rights. “We put the traffic light at the intersection so someone doesn’t kill someone else by accident,” Schwarzenegger said. “You cannot say, ‘No one is going tell me that I’m going to stop here at this traffic light here, I’m going to go right through it.’ Yeah, then you kill someone else, and then it is your doing.”
Freedom, per Schwarzenegger, came with "obligations and responsibilities. You cannot just say, 'I have the right to do XYZ' when you affect other people. That is when it gets serious." He said, "This is the same thing with the virus. You cannot go and not put the mask on because when you breathe, you can infect someone else. And you can infect someone that then gets sick and may die."
Ryan Monahan, the Chief Marketing Officer of REDCON1 said in a statement that “making the public declaration, ‘screw your freedoms’, is dangerous and anti-America.” He added that the brand is “a patriotic pro-freedom brand and community. We support everyone's individual freedoms.”
The brand’s founder Aaron Singerman said that he was not “canceling” the actor and former bodybuilder. “I’m not for canceling anybody. Don’t cancel Arnold, but don’t support him, if you’re me,” he said. “If you like it, go there. I won’t be there, unfortunately, so if you’re looking to see Kai Greene and the rest of the Redcon1 athletes and myself, unfortunately, you won’t.”
But Singerman also praised Schwarzenegger in his statement. "Arnold entered America with passion that he, too, could achieve the American dream. Of course, it wasn't easy, and he pushed through language barriers, poverty, and dramatic cultural differences. His dedication to the sport and perseverance helped him not only reach but achieve more than he ever imagined. A guy who had nothing and no advantages, who never made an excuse, and created tremendous success. He became an icon based on his work ethic, his charisma, and his grit,", he said.
Monahan said in the statement that while REDCON1 is “rooted in the uncompromising unapologetic belief that you are entitled to your opinion and should not be insulted or persecuted for having a varying view,” the brand “choose you and your rights over and above an organization led by Arnold, who isn't aligned with American views.”
REDCON1 was slammed for its decision. “This is BS. Listen to the whole clip. There is nothing anti-American about Arnold’s comments. He makes sense,” said one person on Twitter. “Screw your freedom to not wear a mask and spread COVID… You do NOT have that freedom over me. 100% WITH ARNALD ON THIS ONE SPORT, SO MOVE ON & OUT!” tweeted another person.
“Nice to know that a nutrition company doesn’t care about anyone’s health! Thanks for posting this so I know what products not to spend my money on,” said one tweet. Another tweet read, “Seems like a shitty company I for one never heard of wants to make a name for itself by jumping on the wrong side of life and death issue. Would say boycott, but something tells me most people don't even know about it.”
This wasn't the first time Schwarzenegger made comments like these. When California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state order in June 2020 mandating face coverings in public spaces, Schwarzenegger said his decision was "Hundred percent the right move." He said then, "This will help us beat this terrible virus. The science is unanimous: if we all wear masks, we slow down the spread and can reopen safely."