Last year, renowned action star and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. In June 2022, the Auschwitz Jewish Centre Foundation presented the talent with the inaugural Award for Fighting Hatred. Subsequently, the FUBAR alum’s visit to the establishment was observed in September.
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Following the visit, the museum posted an image on Twitter that revealed the actor’s signature in their guestbook, and written on top of it was a famous one-liner from Schwarzenegger’s 1984 film The Terminator. However, the quote chosen by the star ended up drawing criticism from users online, with many hailing it as “tacky” and “narcissistic.” Later, the museum clarified the context within which the uber-iconic line was written.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator Quote Drew Backlash
Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s visit to the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp was intended to “honor all the victims of the camp.” The actor was additionally interested in learning more about the memorial’s history in order to speak out against the bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance that still exist in our society.
In his inscription on the Auschwitz Museum’s guestbook, the Commando alum wrote above his signature the following: “I’ll be back.” This was implied as a reference to his highly-celebrated film franchise, The Terminator. The quoting of the acclaimed film series did not sit well amongst users online, who were quick to point out the tone-deaf nature of the catchphrase’s usage.
The following was said in a statement by Schwarzenegger around the time he was given the AJCF Award for Fighting Hatred:
“I am witness to the ruins of a country broken by the Nazis. I saw firsthand how this hatred spun out of control and I share these painful memories with the world in the hopes of preventing future tragedies and educating soldiers about personal responsibility. I stand with the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation and their mission of education to ensure NEVER AGAIN.”
The following were the numerous responses from users online to Schwarzenegger’s contentious use of The Terminator one-liner:
“Oh, by the way, have you seen my films?” at a genocide memorial is, AT BEST, tone-deaf and incredibly narcissistic.
— F. S. Harlow (@fs_harlow) October 1, 2022
No hate in this, but it’s so clumsy.
— Gauthier Karin (@GauthierKarin1) October 1, 2022
If my father was a Nazi I’d have written something more poignant, just saying.
— Kathryn Singh (@KathrynSingh) September 28, 2022
Read. The. Room.
— JewkBoxHero (@JewkBoxHero) September 29, 2022
Some people disapproved of the use of the one-liner, while others thought there were no malicious motives behind it. The controversial nature of the incident created a divide between those who deemed the quote “flippant” and “tacky” and those who claimed to not feel offended. The arguments were put to rest when the official Auschwitz Museum Twitter account put forth a follow-up statement. This was done to clarify the actor’s intentions.
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Auschwitz Museum Explained Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Controversial One-Liner
In response to a tweet that has since been deleted, the official Twitter account for Auschwitz Museum stated that the actor’s inscription and his usage of the uber-renowned Terminator one-liner signified Schwarzenegger’s brief visit to the memorial. “He wrote it as a promise to return for a longer visit,” alleged the account. Following this, another tweet was posted under the original, controversial picture of the signature, where the establishment detailed the following:
“This visit was planned to be relatively short. The inscription was meant to be a promise to return for another and more in-depth visit.”
To this added response, one user suggested that there could’ve been better ways of communicating the aforementioned sentiment without having to resort to his most popular catchphrase. The official account then pointed out a separate statement made by the former Governor of California after he visited the site. Here, Arnold Schwarzenegger stated the following:
“This is a story that has to stay alive, this is a story that we have to tell over and over again. Let’s fight prejudice together and let’s just terminate it once and for all.”
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While the actor’s catchphrase, used under the somber context, may have been deemed by many as narcissistic, superficial, and even unnecessary, it can be ascertained from the Predator alum’s above-mentioned statement that he harbors no ill intentions or negative motives. The message that Schwarzenegger has taken a stand for remains against the ideas of bigotry, hatred, and deeply entrenched prejudice.
For many years, the acclaimed action hero has used his international platform to address such grave issues. A video he posted to his YouTube channel this year, titled Arnold Schwarzenegger has a powerful message for those who have gone down a path of hate, where the Hollywood star urged individuals to stay away from the isolating path of hatred and discrimination remains a testament to his philanthropic beliefs.