Veteran Arnold watchers say the California governor’s announced veto ofhis state’s historic same-sex marriage bill is an affront to the memory of his most enthusiastic early supporters: the gay sugar daddiesof the international bodybuilding circuit.
“Arnold has had a long association with rich gay men,” accordingto Wendy Leigh, author of Schwarzenegger: An UnauthorizedBiography. “When he moved to England [around the time of his firstMr. Universe title in 1967], John Dixey, a British businessman and well-knownaficionado of muscle boys, was very, very kind to Arnold. You have tounderstand, before Arnold came on the scene, it was common currency thatbodybuilders were less than macho—it was absolutely given and acceptedthat they supported themselves by catering to the tastes of wealthy gaymen.”
Another of Schwarzenegger’s early benefactors, Leigh says, was PacoArce Gomez, a Spanish millionaire and renowned gay playboy. In a 1992Spy magazine profile of the Conan the Barbarian star, Arce wascredited as the lensman behind a series of photos from the Austrian’searly days, showing him “eating breakfast off of very fancy china wearinga tank top and tight underwear.” (Schwarzenegger also posed nude forhomoerotic photog Robert Mapplethorpe at least three times in the seventies andfamously appeared naked in a 22-photo spread in now-defunct gay rag AfterDark.)
Paul Barresi, an L.A.-based private investigator who claims P.I. AnthonyPellicano hired him before the 2002 election to “look into” any compromising relationships the then-prospective candidate still had in the demimonde, said he was“shocked that Arnold would turn his back on the very people who wereobviously so helpful to him. In fact, Arnold even met his wife, Maria [Shriver],though his friendship with a gay member of Maria’s family.”
The governator has been careful to frame his veto as promoting the will ofthe people as evidenced by an outdated 2000 vote against same-sex nuptials(today public opinion is split down the middle), and has been mostly mum abouthis personal feelings on the issue. At least since his notorious 1977 interviewwith Oui magazine, in which he claimed to “have absolutely nohang-ups about the fag business.”
Apparently, it doesn’t pay like it used to.