Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s rant about the importance of wearing face masks has landed him in hot water.
Fox News can confirm the former governor of California has lost a sponsor for his annual bodybuilding event known as the Arnold Classic due to controversial comments he made last week. The former governor of California riled up citizens when he called mask-averse Americans “schmucks” and said, “screw your freedom,” to those seeking to terminate COVID-19 mandates.
In a statement to Fox News on Friday, REDCON1, a sports nutrition brand, confirmed they’ve pulled out from Schwarzenegger’s event as well as any others he’s involved in.
“To be clear we did not pull out of the event because of a mask issue. We understand the importance of public safety as well as the responsibilities all event organizers. These are unprecedented times and we’re aligned with public safety for all. We elected to discontinue support due to Arnold’s comment, ‘Screw Your Freedoms,’” a spokesperson for the company said.
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“With the global influence Arnold personally possesses we find that ideology dangerous and anti-American,” the company continued.
“REDCON1 is a patriotic pro-freedom brand rooted in the uncompromising unapologetic belief that you, as an American, are entitled to your freedoms and opinion and should not be insulted or persecuted for having a varying view. We support everyone’s individual freedoms,” the statement concludes.
REDCON1 founder Aaron Singerman also voiced his opposition to Schwarzenegger’s comments on his personal Instagram, writing, “For the last 15 years I’ve been attending the Arnold Classic, and for at least a decade I’ve been a sponsor of the contest. I’ve loved Arnold as long as I remember, and credit him for my initial interest in bodybuilding and fitness. I’ve looked at him as a role model.
“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. It’s with a heavy heart and some genuine sadness, that REDCON1 has decided to discontinue any and all support for the Arnold Classic and the other Arnold related events around the world,” Singerman’s post continues.
“We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars being a top sponsor of the event, and this year the exclusive sponsor of the webcast, but we can’t in good Conscience continue to support & be involved with someone who has such diametrically opposed beliefs.”
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In a controversial interview, Schwarzenegger had a message for those arguing that “freedom” is more important than wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“People should know there is a virus here. It kills people, and the only way we prevent it is to 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,'” the “Terminator” franchise star, 74, said.
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“No, screw your freedom, because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. We cannot just say, ‘I have the right to do X, Y and Z.’ When you infect other people, that is when it gets serious,” he added, publicly admonishing those who aren’t subscribing to the practice of masking up and getting the shot.”
The actor’s daughter Katherine, 31, took to her own social media account to support her father’s message.
Later, in an op-ed for The Atlantic, Schwarzenegger addressed some of the criticism he received over the comments, writing, “I’ll admit, calling people schmucks and saying ‘Screw your freedom’ was a little much,” though he still stood by the statement.
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Days later, Schwarzenegger was spotted in public without a mask as he walked outside and puffed on a cigar.
Reps for the actor and organizers for the Arnold Classic did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.