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The oil industry has blood on its hands and Arnold Schwarzenegger is gonna make ‘em pay

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Emily Reynolds
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The oil industry has blood on its hands and Arnold Schwarzenegger is gonna make ‘em pay

It can be easy to forget, what with all his iconic film roles, that Arnold Schwarzenegger has filled most of his time in recent years as a politician; first as Governor of California, and later as a climate change activist. And his latest political effort: taking on the oil industry.

Speaking on a Politico podcast, Schwarzenegger revealed that he was “in talks with several private law firms” to sue the oil industry for first degree murder.

Once again, it’s all down to his climate change activism. The oil industry, he says, has “known since 1959 about the climate and health damage their products cause” – and should, therefore, be liable for it.

“I don’t think there’s any different,” he said. “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 tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would harm people, would kill people, would create cancer, and they were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and they had to pay hundreds of billions of dollars because of that.” 

“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.”

Arnie, about to take on the immoral practices of the oil industry, probably

There’s evidence that oil companies know exactly how dangerous their products are, too, with one study finding that Exxon “knew internally about the dangers…and intentionally misled the public about them”. 

We still don’t know exactly how Arnie will be mounting the case. What he did say, though, was that “any fossil product” – which would include things like petrol or cars – “should come with a warning label”, just as cigarette packets have. 

“We need to go an alternative route,” he said. “Hydrogen engines, electric cards, hybrid cars – something that will reduce the pollution in America and around the world.” 

He also used the interview to finally address allegations of sexual misconduct that emerged during #MeToo’s early months. 

“It is about time. I think it’s fantastic,” he said about the movement. “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 apologise.’”

“We make mistakes, and we don’t take it seriously. And then when you really think about it, you say, ‘Maybe I went too far,’” he continued. “You’ve got to be very sensitive about it, and you’ve got to think about the way that women feel—and if they feel uncomfortable, then you did not do the right thing.”

(Images: Getty / Rex Features)

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