Zac Aynsley Calls Schwarzenegger Statue Vandalism ‘Disrespectful’

Much has been made of the vandalism and looting that have accompanied the unprecedented swell of demonstrations against police brutality across the nation.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, protestors have taken to the streets to demand an end to state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Columbus, Ohio has seen its fair share of peaceful protestors and occasional vandals — and apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger himself has felt the wrath.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger in question is, of course, a giant statue of him located at the Columbus arena where the Arnold Sports Festival typically takes place. “BLM,” “JUSTICE,” and “BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS,” were spray painted across the sidewalks, and the fists of Arnold’s statue were dipped in symbolic red paint. Zac Aynsley shared the photos to his Instagram story, calling the behavior “disrespectful.”

Obviously, it’s unlikely the protestors had it out for Arnold himself — more likely they were frustrated with the system and expressing their anger at injustice through any means necessary. However, Aynsley took offense to their graffiti on the Arnold statue, wondering why they would do such a thing. Clearly, from his perspective, the behavior was disrespectful, especially since he felt it had nothing to with Arnold himself.

A lot has been made about the property damage that’s come out of the last two weeks of protests, but focusing in on broken windows and spray-painted statues entirely misses the point. George Floyd’s death sparked an enormous turning point in human history, one no one can deny or turn away from. The outpouring of grief from the Black community and their allies has rallied hundreds of thousands of protestors around the world calling out for justice and police reform. Only time will tell if their call will be answered.

Zac Aynsley is very attached to Arnold, as are many members of the bodybuilding community who revere him as a God. There are many people who emphasize respect in situations of protest without thinking about the options available to protestors to express their anger at a system that fails them over and over again and gives them almost no tools to adequately respond.

Zac Aynsley’s reaction comes out of his own attachment and great level of respect for Arnold. However, it’s also understandably difficult and sad for people to see cities torn apart in a civic upheaval such as this one. This moment is charged with a lot of pain and a lot of anger. There’s truth to be found there for those of us who are seeking it.

What do you think? Was the vandalism of the Arnold statue in Columbus was disrespectful? Let us know in the comments below.


*All images and media courtesy of Instagram.

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