In the Washington Post, testimonials by prep school classmates of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paint the former Governor of Massachusetts as a homophobic bully. So, basically— he hasn't changed much. Snip:
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 teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
With help from other bullies, the story goes, Romney then tackled Lauber, pinned him to the ground, and while the young man was weeping, cut off his hair with scissors.
Romney was not disciplined for the incident, or for the rest of the alleged bullying detailed in the story. Lauber died in 2004, so we can't hear his side—but friends interviewed in the Washington Post piece say the hair-cutting attack impacted him deeply and remained with him for the rest of his life.
ABC News also interviewed school friends of Romney, one of whom described his behavior as “like Lord of the Flies.” Romney apologized for the "prank" in a radio interview today, but said that “homosexuality” was never on his mind. Oh, of course not. Snip:
Romney’s former classmate, Phillip Maxwell, now a lawyer, described witnessing the incident and said he considered the “prank” the two pulled at Michigan’s Cranbrook School to be “assault and battery.” Maxwell said [he] held the boy’s arm and leg, describing himself and his friends as a “pack of dogs.”
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.