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Viral inspirational message on WhatsApp about Arnold Schwarzenegger is false

Image of Arnold Schwarzenegger is authentic but tied to baseless claim

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Claim: A hotel that enacted a bronze statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his honour refused to provide him with a room for free despite an earlier promise of a lifetime membership for him; in response, the actor slept under the sculpture and warned people of the fickle nature of one’s position, money, intelligence, and youth.

Fact: The image is authentic but there is no truth to the claim. The photograph was taken as a joke. Moreover, the Arnold Schwarzenegger statue is not located in front of any hotel.

People in Pakistan love sharing inspirational messages on WhatsApp and something similar happened on 24 May 2023, when Soch Fact Check received on WhatsApp a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger — a Hollywood actor and former governor of the US state of California — taking a nap in a green sleeping bag under a bronze statue of himself, accompanied by the following text in Urdu:

“‏وقت وقت کی بات !
یہ وہ شخص ہے جسے دنیا بھر کے نوجوان جن کو باڈی بلڈنگ کا شوق تھا، یہ ان کا رول ماڈل تھا۔ باڈی بلڈنگ کی دنیا کا بے تاج بادشاہ۔  ‏پھر قسمت کی مہربانیاں شروع ہوئیں۔ فٹنس سٹار کے بعد فلم سٹار اور اس کے بعد اسے کیلیفورنیا کا گورنر بنا دیا گیا۔
ایک ہوٹل نے اعزازی طور پر آرنلڈ کا مجسمہ بھی ہوٹل کے باہر لگا دیا اور آرنلڈ کا نام خوب کیش کیا۔ اور اعلان کیا کہ آرنلڈ کو اس ہوٹل کی تا حیات ممبر شپ دی جاتی ہے۔‏ وہ جب چاہے یہاں آ کر کسی بھی کمرے میں فری قیام کر سکتا ہے۔
پھر وقت بدلا۔
2016 میں جب آرنلڈ اس ہوٹل میں گیا تو ہوٹل انتظامیہ نے مفت کمرہ دینے سے انکار کر دیا ۔آرنلڈ نے وعدہ یاد کروایا تو انتظامیہ نے کہا کہ
‘جناب۔ آپ اس وقت گورنر تھے۔ اب کسٹمر ہیں’
‏آرنلڈ نے اپنے بیگ سے بستر نکالا اور باہر جا کر اپنے مجسمے کے نیچے لیٹ گیا۔ اور تصویر بنوا کر اپنے سوشل میڈیا اکاؤنٹ پر لگا دی اور لکھا کہ ‘وقت کیسے بدل جاتا ہے۔ کبھی بھی اپنے عہدے، پیسے، ذہانت یا جوانی پر فخر مت کرنا۔ یہ سب چلا جائے گا’.”

Translated to English, the caption reads as follows:

This is about how the times change!
This is the man who was a role model for young people all over the world who were interested in bodybuilding. The uncrowned king of the bodybuilding world. Then fate started bestowing favours on him. After being a fitness star, he became a movie star and then he was made the governor of California.
A hotel also placed a statue of Arnold outside the hotel in his honour and started cashing on his name. And announced that Arnold has been given a lifetime membership of the hotel. He can come here whenever he wants and stay in any room for free, [the hotel said].
Then the times changed.
When Arnold went to the [same] hotel in 2016, the hotel management refused to give him a free room. When Arnold reminded them of their promise, the management said,
‘Mister, you were the governor [of California] then. Now you’re a customer.’
Arnold took a [sleeping] bed out of his bag, went outside, and lay down under his statue. And took a picture and put it on his social media account and wrote, ‘How the times change. Never be proud of your position, money, intelligence or youth. It will all go away’.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check found, through reverse image search tools, a link to the original posts by Arnold Schwarzenegger on his verified Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

“How times have changed,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his social media posts, carrying the image in which he did indeed pose in a green sleeping bag under the bronze statue.

Upon more digging, we found an Internet Movie Database (IMDb) post (archive), sourced from a People Magazine article (archive) from 15 January 2016.

“Even Arnold Schwarzenegger needs some snooze time. The actor and former governor of California posted a photo of himself [on] Instagram that is bound to make you chuckle. Cozied up in a green sleeping bag, Schwarzenegger decided to take a catnap in front of the massive bronze statue of his bodybuilder self that sits in front of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio,” the IMDb wrote, citing the magazine.

This can also be corroborated by an E! Online article (archive), which states, “The movie star and former governor of California poked a little fun at himself today while in Columbus, Ohio, pretending (we assume) to take a snooze next to the big bronze statue of his bodybuilder self that lives outside the Greater Columbus Convention Center.”

The picture was taken apparently as a joke when Schwarzenegger was on a film shoot in Columbus in the state of Ohio, in 2016, not California, of which he was the governor from November 2003 to January 2011.

Moreover, the bronze statue is not situated outside any hotel but the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the city’s convention centre.

Snopes, AFP Fact Check, and Factly — all of which are signatories of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which has accredited Soch Fact Check as well — also debunked a similar claim. The viral text in their articles was different in that it claims he opened the hotel himself.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found the false posts here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook. It was also shared here, here, and here on Twitter.

The claim has been circulating in the Urdu language since at least 2019, as shown in this post, which is one of many.

Conclusion: The image is authentic but there is no truth to the claim. The photograph was taken as a joke. Moreover, the Arnold Schwarzenegger statue is not located in front of any hotel.


Background image in cover photo: @arnold


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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