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. TJ: Did you steal the grew the balls line from Kiwi? It was adolescent misbehavior not a serious felony. Romney is no psycho. You may be projecting. I can't believe that some of you posters on this site are so f**kin nuts that you have this life long democrat defending Romney. What are you going to do if they come up with some adolescent misbehavior on Obama's part? Many adolescent boys have engaged in behavior that they are ashamed of as adults. Probably even Saint TJ.

    Posted by: andrew | May 11, 2012 1:56:51 AM

  2. You folks are giving Rick what he wants and needs: ATTENTION. It is not my place to tell anyone what to do, but this would be a better site if everyone ignored Rick. Just sayin!

    Posted by: andrew | May 11, 2012 2:47:34 AM

  3. ANDREW: Time to adjust the meds.

    Re: Psycho. I'm not the first to suggest this re: Romney. I won't be the last.

    And no, never did what Romney did. To anyone. Not my whole life. Because I had done to me what Romney did in this case, only worse. I had a ring leader instruct his gang to hold me down while he did what he did, and his hollow apology some 30 years later, at a high school reunion, rang just as disingenuous.

    I'd ask what makes you so hateful, but not only would I not expect an honest answer, given that this is the Internet and not everyone is genuine or honest, but there is little I can do to affect change. So rage on, ANDREW. Attack me all you want.

    Posted by: TJ | May 11, 2012 2:57:05 AM

  4. @Rick, if you actually believe what your posting about masculinity your a complete moron. If you're only doing it to troll you're a complete jackass.

    Stop people the morons and the trolls people!

    Posted by: Andrew | May 11, 2012 2:57:41 AM

  5. TJ: The adjust the meds thing is so overused. Who else other than posters on this site have accused Romney of being a psycho? What did the ringleader instruct the gang to do to you? Write it all down and make an after school movie about it. Fiction sells. "So rage on, Andrew. Attack me all you want". Its too bad Bette Davis is not living. She could play your part. I respected you more before you became so pathetic. Your B.S doesn't fly.

    Posted by: andrew | May 11, 2012 3:36:27 AM

  6. I don't know who posted this @Rick above. But it wasn't me. Probably Rick himself. He is such a bomb thrower. I don't think he believes much of what he says. He just likes the attention his stupid remarks get him.

    Posted by: andrew | May 11, 2012 4:15:46 AM

  7. This is a horrifying story. It absolutely speaks to his smug, self-satisfied, self-important, lack of empathy. Not surprisingly he espouses the grasping, selfish politics of the extreme right. I grew up among people like this, including one very closeted Cranbrook alum, and they make me sick. No wonder that even most Republicans dislike him, and wanted anybody else they could possibly get.

    Here's hoping this jerk falls flat on his face, as hopefully this story will help to accomplish.

    Posted by: Rob | May 11, 2012 4:37:04 AM

  8. @Rob; just hope they don't find an equally embarrassing story about an adolescent Obama. Adolescent boys often do things which cause them shame as adults. I intend to vote for Obama again in 2012 as I did in 2008, but this story about Romney's gross immature behavior as a teenager is totally irrelivant. It happened 50 years ago. FIFTY YEARS AGO.

    Posted by: andrew | May 11, 2012 4:52:21 AM

  9. Not fiction, ANDREW. A fact. I actually don't engage in fabrication even though, given that this is the Internet, after all, i could easily get away with it. I leave that sort of thing to sad, nasty people.You are a sad, nasty person. I have a great guy for you. His name is RICK.

    Posted by: TJ | May 11, 2012 10:39:05 AM

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