In two weeks, Edgell will head to Los Angeles for a toy fair where he will unveil his Governor Girlie Man “inaction figure.”
“I think portraying Arnold in a pink dress is the great equalizer, and, in doing so, we’re one David Letterman mention away from Arnold’s image being permanently altered,” said Edgell, whose Hill career began in 1979. He has worked for a host of lawmakers, including former Sens. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Reps. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), as well as Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
Edgell’s resentment against the governor appears to be personal. After the ex-staffer came out with his first Schwarzenegger bobblehead in 2004 — the one portraying him in a suit and carrying a machine gun — Schwarzenegger sued him, citing a California right-of-publicity law that states you can’t use a private citizen’s image without his consent. In this case, however, Schwarzenegger is a public figure.
Schwarzenegger also went after Edgell’s vendor and won upwards of $30,000 in a settlement, which Schwarzenegger donated to Arnold’s All-Stars, a program for inner-city youth. Edgell drained $20,000 in legal fees before Schwarzenegger finally dropped the suit.
Edgell reasons that creating the female Schwarzenegger dolls is fair game, saying that when Schwarzenegger made the “girly man” comments he said those he offended needed to get a sense of humor.
“Well, under the First Amendment, Americans have a right to praise, criticize and poke fun at politicians, and it just seemed appropriate to portray Arnold as the sissy in the pink dress, to turn his joke back on him,” Edgell said.
The ex-staffer said he created the bobbleheads because to raise money for the fight against sarcoma. Friends had lost their daughter to the rare cancer, which afflicts 20,000 children age 2-6 each year. In 2003, he used $25,000 of his own money to finance the production of 4,000 bobbleheads that included Sen. John Kerry, retired Gen. Wesley Clark former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Schwarzenegger.
So far, he has donated $6,000 to sarcoma.com, and he plans to donate more this year. But even that doesn’t soothe his anger toward Schwarzenegger: “I’m going to be the dog poop on his high heel until I raise $50,000.”
The reason Edgell put Schwarzenegger in a suit with a machine gun also comes with a story. In 2003, Edgell was still working for Kucinich when Edgell dropped his 3-year-old son off at Capitol Hill day-care center one morning. When Schwarzenegger came up in conversation, some of the children immediately created pretend guns with their hands, mimicking the actor’s roles in such movies as “Terminator” and “Predator.” Shocked, Edgell decided that his bobblehead of Schwarzenegger had to carry a gun.
The second Schwarzenegger bobblehead, with the governor in a pink dress, went on sale in October. Look for more girly versions of the Schwarzenegger bobblehead to hit the stores later this year. In mid-2005, there will be “Silicone Arnold,” i.e. Schwarzenegger with even larger breasts popping out of a tight pink sleeveless dress, and “Malibu Arnold,” which has the governor in a thong bikini — pink, of course.
The governor’s office had no comment. His lawyer did not return calls by press time.
Schwarzenegger girly bobbleheads are sold at the Trover Bookshop on Capitol Hill and Pumpernickel’s deli in upper Northwest Washington and on www.governorgirlieman.com. The cost is $19.99. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to help fight sarcoma.