Actor and environmental activist Arnold Schwarzenegger says he and a team of lawyers are set to sue major oil companies whose “product is killing people.”
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” Schwarzenegger said this weekend during live recording of Politico’s Off Message podcast at the South by Southwest festival. “Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”
Schwarzenegger, who launched the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook last August to provide fifty state legislators with a blueprint to pass climate change legislation to counter President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, said oil companies and fossil fuels are “no different from the smoking issue.”
“The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” the former California governor said. “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.”
While suing oil companies may not reap rewards, financial or otherwise, Schwarzenegger hopes the legal effort helps raise awareness about how these companies are “knowingly killing people all over the world.”
“I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies,” the Terminator star said.
Speaking briefly about the anti-sexual harassment movements sweeping reforms through Hollywood and media after misconduct scandals rocked those sectors, Schwarzenegger “It is about time. I think it’s fantastic. I think that women have been used and abused and treated horribly for too long, and now all of the elements came together to create this movement, and now finally puts the spotlight on this issue, and I hope people learn from that.
“You’ve got to take those things seriously. You’ve got to look at it and say, ‘I made mistakes. And I have to apologize,’” Schwarzenegger added, having been accused by multiple women of groping and sexual misconduct dating back to the 1970s.
Schwarzenegger also took a shot at President Trump, joking that the plot of his new Terminator movie was written to include Trump.
“The T-800 model that I play, he’s traveling back in time to 2019 to get Trump out of prison,” Schwarzenegger joked.