2012 Election | Mitt Romney | News

Mitt Romney: Anti-Gay Bully?


In what could be a damning anecdote from Mitt Romney's more youthful days, Jason Horowitz at the Washington Post reports that the presumptive GOP nominee not only participated in but led what could be described as an assault on a fellow student thought to be gay.

Apparently John Lauber, a fellow student at the upscale Cranbrook High School in Michigan, didn't fit the 60s-era mould of "masculinity," and faced constant torment from his peers, including Romney.

After a spring break, Lauber returned to school with bleached blond hair, a look of which young Romney did not approve. "He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!" Romney reportedly told a friend. He subsequently organized a crew to hold down Lauber and cut his hair.

John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

"He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record.

Lauber passed away in 2004.

It is tempting to claim this story will bolster Romney's standings among anti-gay conservatives, but let's keep in mind that bullying has since the death of Tyler Clementi become a national, bipartisan issue and the idea that a potential president initiated such an incident could turn off moderate or wary voters.

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  1. The staff members of LCR and GoProud probably got boners reading that story.
    Proof of what a callous individual he is; not that anybody with sense didn't already realize it. "I like being able to fire the people who work for me". "I like ganging up on the weak".

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 10, 2012 12:22:46 PM

  2. No. Nobody will really care about something that may or may not have happened 50 years ago.

    Posted by: Dave in NYC | May 10, 2012 12:23:42 PM

  3. Hello and Good Morning Mr. Troll! May or may not have happened 50 years ago? 5 people independently corroborated the story.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 10, 2012 12:26:59 PM

  4. Nobody likes or respects sissies. Nobody. Anywhere. Including sissies, themselves. And nobody ever will.

    Posted by: Rick | May 10, 2012 12:28:59 PM

  5. While I'm no fan of Mitt Romney, I'd guess the story will be dismissed by most as a lot of hearsay. You have to consider the person who was allegedly bullied died a few years ago so he cannot deny or affirm this story and the 4 people telling it I believe work for the Democratic party in some way. People will take it as a partisan attack, but it is an interesting anecdote if true.

    Posted by: sara | May 10, 2012 12:30:10 PM

  6. "Nobody likes or respects sissies. Nobody. Anywhere. Including sissies, themselves. And nobody ever will."

    I do.

    Posted by: truthiness | May 10, 2012 12:34:45 PM

  7. Rick, regardless of whether what you say is true, I hold bullies in greater contempt. What does it say about someone's character to be the ringleader in an attack on the weak? If this is representative of Romney's morals, then he just went from mealy-mouthed to dangerous in my book. This man is deeply flawed.

    Posted by: Fritz | May 10, 2012 12:35:15 PM

  8. LOL Rick. Maybe not the most opportune moment for you to wage your war to masculinize teh gays. BTW Christian Siriano was found dead last night, died while picking through a dumpster for food scraps. Nobody ever gave him any respect. Just nobody darnit.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 10, 2012 12:37:01 PM

  9. St. Teresa, I couldn't agree more: Cue the Log Cabin Republican press release attacking the President for Romney's bullying.

    Posted by: Patric | May 10, 2012 12:40:50 PM

  10. I sure hope this story gains traction in the mainstream media! Can you imagine the results if this had happened this year in a state like mine (NJ)? Right after the Ravi / Tyler case?

    Posted by: ROBERT BAKER | May 10, 2012 12:41:21 PM

  11. Sissies make manly gay men like me who are masculine look like we're all limp-wristed fairies. I'm not limp wristed and I don't lisp. I do, however, suffer from anal leakage which I treat by stuffing tampons up my anus. In case you wanted to know why I get so crabby. Its' because I have tampons up my bum. Which leaks.

    Posted by: Rick | May 10, 2012 12:42:51 PM

  12. @Fritz It doesn't sound to me as though this guy was attacked because he was weak (i.e. physically small and therefore vulnerable). That kind of bullying is the kind that the public rightly objects to.

    No, this guy went out of his way to look like and behave like a girl, trying to make a mockery out of masculinity, no doubt knowing full well what kind of reaction it would elicit.....and therefore deserves no sympathy any more than any other guy who does the same thing.

    And behaving effeminately has NOTHING AT ALL to do with sexual orientation--it is a choice, whereas sexual orientation is not.

    So anyone who engages in it can live with the consequences.

    Posted by: Rick | May 10, 2012 12:43:44 PM

  13. SARA, where do you get these men worked for the Democratic Party? The Wasington Post article states, "...The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections."

    Posted by: Scudder | May 10, 2012 12:45:06 PM

  14. By the way, if anyone doubted that the impostor who has posted under my name and ddid so again just before my reply to Fritz in this thread is, in fact, Little Kiwi--observe his use of the word "bum"......which automatically identifies him as a non-American.

    Posted by: Rick | May 10, 2012 12:48:36 PM

  15. In the 60's there was a lot of pressure to conform and that was likely the motivator for the incident and not the guy being gay.

    I did a lot of things in my teens and fraternity years that would not pass today's standards. Gay men do and say a lot of nasty things to each other everyday. Trying being over weight at a circuit party.

    If this is the worse that Gov. Romney ever treated anyone it shows he is a lot better than the majority of people on both sides of the political spectrum.

    Posted by: Chris | May 10, 2012 12:49:51 PM

  16. "If this is the worse that Gov. Romney ever treated anyone"
    Which fortunately it isn't, not by a long shot.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 10, 2012 12:55:51 PM

  17. @Chris that's absurd. He tackled and assaulted a man while he screamed for help. The majority of us don't go around assaulting people and have this kind of event in our past much less a man running for president. If he did this, that would actually make him worse than the majority of people on both sides of the political spectrum.

    Posted by: sara | May 10, 2012 12:56:56 PM

  18. "Christian Siriano was found dead last night, died while picking through a dumpster for food scraps. Nobody ever gave him any respect. Just nobody darnit."

    LOL. Oh, sorry, let me amend my statement to say that some women have always had some use for sissies that design their clothes, dress their hair, decorate their houses.....and generally worship them as "icons" and subordinate themselves to them.

    Sorry, my bad. LOL.

    Posted by: Rick | May 10, 2012 1:01:29 PM

  19. Several things:
    At least one of the 5 witnesses cited in the WaPo story is a republican, so chances are it happened as described. The WaPo is reasonably careful about vetting stories, especially one this political.

    While kids will be kids and do stupid things, I have issues with adults who selectively "forget" things. Mitt is lying again.
    People change as they grow up, and honestly admitting the past is a sign that you have truly changed.

    Posted by: rik | May 10, 2012 1:03:22 PM

  20. Rick, are you aware that it was "sissies" who were the first to fight back against the police in the Stonewall Uprising? That's right, dude... it was men in skirts, wigs, and heels. "Sissies" as you call them. It's a fact of our history that you can't erase with your tiny-penised, chest-thumping, macho baloney.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | May 10, 2012 1:05:37 PM

  21. Rick, would you please post a picture of yourself so we can see how "not gay" you really look like? It's a safe bet your gayness can be seen from 10 miles away.

    Posted by: Michael | May 10, 2012 1:05:56 PM

  22. I think it's so bizarre that Rick the troll only surfaces whenever a gay person is beaten, or preferably killed. While he was attracted to this story because someone got bullied, he really got a hardon when he heard Christian Soriano died (although I can't find that story anywhere but in these comments). At the first whiff of blood, Rick rears his ugly head and flaunts his ramrod straight wrists and clear diction. Nobody gives a crap how straight acting you are, Rick (and my hunch is not very). But we do care that you get so much joy from the death of gay people. Sick and delusional.

    Posted by: Brian | May 10, 2012 1:12:01 PM

  23. I'd love to see how manly Rick is.

    Posted by: Jay | May 10, 2012 1:18:13 PM

  24. Rick - regardless of whether you feel that victim was to blame, what does it say about someone's character that he would single out and physically attack someone for acting different?

    Posted by: Fritz | May 10, 2012 1:18:40 PM

  25. @Rick--Define masculinity (without reference to yourself). Chances are you engage in some activities that someone, somewhere considers non-masculine. Maybe even you being gay simply makes you a woman to some people. Think about that. And many think your sexuality is simply a choice-a gender identity and self-expression no different than bleached blond hair. We have no proof of what is choice and what is integral to our personhood, *and in America we shouldn't need such justification*. That's the point. Get your head out of your butt about gender norms, because they are irrelevant. What matters is this: did someone breach society's interest in protecting health, safety, and welfare? If not, then he retains his right to do whatever he likes. Mitt breached the social compact we have adopted here in America--one still alive and well today in the minds of most sane, rational people. His victim--and victim is an accurate word here--did nothing wrong. Next you'll tell me that some women deserve rape.

    Posted by: Stefan | May 10, 2012 1:29:36 PM

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