Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to help a 102-year-old woman facing eviction in Los Angeles, California.
The former California state governor is taking a stand against unfair renting practices, in particular the case of Thelma Smith. The 102-year-old woman is being evicted from the apartment where she has lived for more than 30 years just to make room for the landlord's daughter, according to a report by the L.A. Times.
As the story gained traction on social media, Schwarzenegger weighed in with a surprisingly personal stake in it. As he revealed on Twitter, the Terminator star has actually known Smith for a long time. He promised to do everything he could to keep her in her home.
"Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time," Schwarzenegger wrote. "Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too."
Many people — both Schwarzenegger's fans and those already outraged by the story — were surprised by his sudden involvement. In fact, many saw the humor in it, as Schwarzenegger has been a pop cultural icon for toughness for decades.
"Well this took an unexpected turn," wrote news producer Melissa Palmer.
Landlords get ready! pic.twitter.com/zohzUMaN8X— Joel coady (@JCoadster) May 24, 2019
Other fans shared GIFs from some of Schwarzenegger's classic movies, including the Terminator, implying that he was heading into battle by confronting the landlord. However, on a more serious note, some pointed out that the promise to Smith was perfectly in line with Schwarzenegger's agenda as governor.
"When he was Governor, Schwarzenegger did a lot that made me proud to be part of it," wrote Schwarzenegger's Chief of Staff Daniel Ketchell. "But this was the moment I realized the power of the bully pulpit to do the right thing in the most basic situation."
As always, there was debate online, with some taking the side of the landlord in this issue. However, others pointed out that it had more to do with compassion than legality, especially for a woman with few options and little ability to move on short notice.
Arnie walking into the landlords office pic.twitter.com/3AivmULquA— Cristian Molina (@DirectedByCJ) May 24, 2019
Since Friday, there have been no updates on Smith's case, or on what Schwarzenegger is doing to help behind the scenes. The entertainment icon has posted messages about public appearances and a heartfelt note about Memorial Day in th meantime.
"This Memorial Day, remember that we Americans are the most fortunate people in the history of the world not because we got lucky, but because many men and women who came before us made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, our liberty, and our way of life," he tweeted.