Mitt Romney: Prep School Bully and Gay Basher

Mitt Romney, teenage jerk

Jason Horowitz has a must-read article about Mitt Romney’s high school days in today’s Washington Post. As I read the piece, I could feel the anger rising in my chest. At the same time, I must say that I wasn’t really surprised to learn that Romney was an obnoxious jerk and bully as a teenager.

The year was 1965, and there was a new kid at the exclusive Cranbook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His name was John Lauber, and Romney took an immediate dislike to him.

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.

After that, Lauber “seemed to disappear,” and he did not graduate from the school. Horowitz learn that he died in 2004.

Horowitz got this same story from five of Romney classmates, all of whom were interviewed separately. The four who agreed to be named each remembered the incident clearly and expressed guilt and remorse at their participation or lack of action.

Decades later, in the ’90s, one of the men, David Seed ran into Lauber at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and took the opportunity to apologize.

“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.

Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”

And this wasn’t an isolated incident. Another classmate of Romney’s, Gary Hummel, described Romney yelling “Attagirl!” whenever he tried to speak in class. Romney and his friends also mocked and played pranks on an elderly teacher who had impaired vision.

Is this the “wild and crazy” guy that Ann Romney claims is hiding inside her stiff, robotic husband? If so, I hope he stays bottled up.

And guess what? Romney claims to have no memories of any of these incidents! His campaign scrambled to respond to the Horowitz article this morning, and Romney “apologized” on an Oklahoma radio show with the now common “if I offended anyone…” routine:

“Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney said in a live radio interview with Fox News Channel personality Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.”

On the attack on Lauber, Romney claimed:

“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”

Really? I was born the same year as Romney, 1947, and I also graduated from high school in 1965. I clearly recall fellow students using the words “queer,” “homo,” and “fag,” to mock and bully classmates from junior high onward. Actually, I think most were over that by later in high school. Obviously Romney was not, and IMO he still acts like bully with his blatant lies and vicious negative attacks on his political opponents. I can only imagine what he must have been like as boss.

On Gary Hummel’s claim that Romney made fun of him by shouting “Attaboy!” at him in class, Romney also couldn’t remember doing it, but he had more meaningless excuses:

“As this person indicated, he was closeted,” Romney said. “I had no idea that he was gay and can’t speak to that even today. But as to the teasing or the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago. For me, that’s about 48 years ago. Again, if there’s anything I said that is offensive to someone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry for that.”

I don’t know what else to say other than this just makes me sick to my stomach. I didn’t care for bullies back when I was in junior high and high school, and I like them even less now.

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65 Comments on “Mitt Romney: Prep School Bully and Gay Basher”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Romney has proven that he too has “evolved” from being an asshole than to an even bigger asshole now.

    A bully is a bully is a bully. More so when you perceive yourself as an entitled and privileged miserable little snot!

    And we thought George W. Bush was the ultimate frat boy.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Pat,

      I got so angry when I was writing this that I feel like I need tranquillizer.

      • It is a great post BB, keep posting the truth about Romney! (even if it is making you sick, because the word has got to get out)

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thank you, JJ.

      • northwestrain says:

        I hate bullies — in part because their behavior can kill. There are now so many reports of bullies allowed to run free and as a result kids are committing suicide.

        There is a neighbor not far from where I live who has bullied at least two people to commit suicide — and she is proud of that fact. She appears to be a harmless person — but she is a liar, she makes up stories about people. And she gets others to do her dirty work — passive aggressive.

        Romney on the other hand was outright aggressive in his harassment of other students — and I’m sure his behavior was linked to his Mormon religion.

      • Woman Voter says:

        As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

        The fact that the bullying ruined his academic prospects and affected him emotionally is heartbreaking. I remember walking to school with a friend (We were about nine or ten and in charge of our brothers.) and these kids would come by hit him, call him names, while his young brothers screamed, mine too, except the little one who learned how to give a swift kick, as I would try and get in between him and the blows. Later they took to calling me ‘Tom Boy’, because I would do a very good job at pushing them away, as my friend had been rendered defenseless with fear, from all the beatings he took. It was so bad at one point, I would walk a couple of blocks back to pick them up and then walk to school, so they wouldn’t find him alone, with his little brothers.

        I remember some names they called him, but didn’t understand them at the time. It struck me that they didn’t have mercy on him, even after his brother was killed (about six, a twin), dragged down the street, by a hit and run driver. It was real hard walking to school with him, and the other twin (Seeing one, knowing the other one died.), but still the bullys were there…to torment us.

      • Seriously says:

        Remember when Little Isis shared about her school, and I think there was at least one case where bullies showed up at the funeral of a victim who’d committed suicide to actually taunt the family members? Her school is notorious for bullying, but honestly that’s probably the kind of thing that could happen anywhere. Any tribute page for someone who’s killed herself attracts the most vicious, heartless comments. The father or a girl who was bullied into suicide says he’s not going to press charges because the bullies will have to live with their guilt every day of their lives. He might be right, but he might be giving them too much credit and engaging in wishful thinking. Some of them might feel remorse, either right now or someday when they grow up but there’s a possibility that some of them never will.

      • bostonboomer says:

        WV, That is so sad, but it isn’t unusual. And I too remember when Isis wrote about her school.

        Back when I was writing about Michelle Bachmann, I learned that the HS she went to has had numerous suicides of kids who were bullied. The school was even investigated by the feds because of it.

      • Woman Voter says:

        BB,

        I do remember Isis writing about that and how bullying had gone on for years. In my era, it was common and the education system did see it as a crime nor the police at the time. I will drop by Isis’ blog and see how she is doing in college these days.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. The man that enjoys firing people. Only a sociopath would enjoy that. Most of the folks I’ve known dread having to do that and only when it’s absolutely necessary. They lose sleep over it and get stressed out. Romney actually says he enjoys it.

  2. RalphB says:

    Jeez, this creep fits every stereotype for a spoiled rich asshole, which it seems he was after all. I’m the same age as Romney and his excuse makes no sense at all to me either.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He’s repulsive. Imagine? He claims not to remember something the other people involved still feel guilty about 47 years later.

    • dakinikat says:

      Never underestimate that ugly combination of a sense of entitlement and a religion that tells you you’re a demi-god.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        When you listen to his classmates recollection, it sounds to me like Mitt might have been attracted to the other boys looks, so much so he felt compelled to change his looks. I’ve been convinced for a long time that those who strike out physically at L/G’s and protest so much are likely bisexual or closet cases. Just look at the guys who run all those anti-gay christian organizations. They’re all some variation of Marcus Bachmann who himself runs a reparative therapy program. You can almost see them fighting themselves.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It’s always a possibility, but in Romney’s case I think he’s just an asshole and a bully.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I always remember this anti-gay activist baptist preacher who was a major religious right organizer and one of the Founders of the Values Voters Conference who got caught with a rent-a-boy a couple of years ago.

        Warning: This video is from TYT and has some graphic info. Not suitable for those who aren’t in the mood for dirty details.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        No doubt he’s an asshole and bully. Asshole and Bully could be part of his middle name, Willard Mitt-Asshole-bully Romney. :-)

      • bostonboomer says:

        lol

      • Allie says:

        I just read an article about testing they have done on self-identified homophobes vs. non-homophobes. The homophobes are much more stimulaed by images of gay sex than others. I do believe fear and self-loathing play into homophobic bullying.

        Not sure where I got the link to that article – here maybe? lol

      • bostonboomer says:

        Hi Allie,

        I wrote about that study a few days ago in a morning post. I don’t know if you read it there or not. There has been a new study supported the findings too.

        They weren’t self-identified homophobes, but they took personality tests that showed them to be homophobic. They also denied getting aroused by the gay porn, even though there were physiological measurements taken.

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    Here comes Obama, putting it all out there for everyone to see.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Romney was already a snob then too.

    Lou Vierling, a scholarship student who boarded at Cranbrook for the 1960 and 1961 academic years, was struck by a question Romney asked them when they first met. “He wanted to know what my father did for a living,” Vierling recalled. “He wanted to know if my mother worked. He wanted to know what town I lived in.” As Vierling explained that his father taught school, that he commuted from east Detroit, he noticed a souring of Romney’s demeanor.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Another “prank” Romney pulled was going to meet his aunt at the train station with a friend dressed white coats. They tied her to a stretcher and acted like they were taking her to a mental hospital.

    Who thinks that’s funny? I sure don’t. To me humor doesn’t come at someone else’s expense.

    • RalphB says:

      Not funny at all. Kind of sick really.

    • Seriously says:

      God, the rich really are different, aren’t they? Romney doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would be in the popular clique at a public school, he’s too socially awkward and weird, unlike the W, good ol’ boy confident okay looking frat boy jock asshole type who *would* rule the roost at PS. W would be stuffing Mitt into a locker while Mitt burned with resentment of his unappreciated superiority and bullied the shy, sweet, defenseless smart kids at the absolute bottom of the hs heap. But put him in an environment where money alone determines the hierarchy and he’s the supremely confident King Asshole with the gross sense of entitlement and actual henchmen to carry out his nasty schemes. Weird.

  6. mablue2 says:

    Is this the “wild and crazy” guy that Ann Romney claims is hiding inside her stiff, robotic husband?

    What are you talking about? What stiff? Clueless Ann Romney said if you “unzip him”, and “let the real Romney out”, people will see that he’s not stiff at all…

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    Well here’s a new one from Bristol Palin on Barack Obama.

    “While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”

    Because you, Bristol, are such a shining example of “marriage”? You have got to be kidding me. I can’t believe we are being punished with another pontification from a “don’t pay attention to what I do, or how I live, just listen to my religious dogma BS brainwashing nonsense”. Yada, yada, yada. Bristol, go dance with some stars!!!! :-)

    • bostonboomer says:

      Bristol probably doesn’t even know that not much more than 100 years ago, women and children were legally considered property. And they were treated that way until the 1970s.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah. And she sure has a lot of contact with her baby daddy doesn’t she?

    • RalphB says:

      Verbal diarrhea from spawn of Quiterella. Who cares? Their 15 min are long gone!

  8. Woman Voter says:

    CNN confirming that Joe Biden ran out and announced what was to be an announcement by President Obama on Marriage Equality. CNN also said Joe Biden was reticent about supporting Marriage Equality in the past. So, FOOT IN MOUTH Biden did it for Biden 2016…nope won’t vote for Biden in 2016.

    Anita Hill was telling the truth!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Why did David Gregory ask that question to begin with? Did someone tip him?

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t care why he did it or why Obama did it. I’m just glad they did it. I assumed they were testing the waters, and I don’t care. Having the President come out for gay marriage is huge.

    • Seriously says:

      Well, you’ll be the only person in America not feeling the 2016 Joementum then, WV. ;)

  9. Eric says:

    I’ve known a lot of preppies, and the common thread is that they believe they and their group are just better than the rest of us. Is this the kind of person we want to run the country?

  10. leonard says:

    As a near-exact contemporary of Romney’s at another prep school in Cranbrook’s league, let me observe: (1) our disciplinary system informally but clearly made it known that something like the forcible haircutting could result in serious penalties, even expulsions, with no quarter given the sons of major donors. Any prefect taking part in something like this, as Dr. Friedman did, betrayed the trust of the school and the boys he was supposed to mentor and protect. If reported, he would have been swiftly sacked—as the regretful Doctor probably knew well in keeping his silence. (2) Emotional violence, though, was endemic and sometimes literally deadly. It focused particularly on students thought to be “queer.” One of the least credible claims Romney has ever made is the statement in his Fox News “apology” that “[homosexuality] was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.” (3) The bedrock assumption of an education like ours is the belief that people really are perfectible, that all the strict rules and hard work really will make a difference in the later lives and contributions of even the biggest post-pubescent jerks. I can remember half-a-dozen schoolmates you’ve probably heard of whose adolescent antics should not discredit immense contributions in later life as scholars, businessmen and politicians in both parties. However much I detest Mr. Romney’s candidacy, the man does deserve to be judged on his merits NOW, and not from 1965.

    • RalphB says:

      His current denials and profession to not remember the incidents speak to his merits NOW and not in 1965.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Well, just LAST WEEK, Mitt Romney allowed a gay employee of his campaign to be humiliated and driven out of his job. Romney made no effort to defend the man. None.

      Is that NOW enough for you to see that this man is still a bully and a sadist? If not, why not?

  11. ErinB says:

    Well-written blog! I’m just going to have to join in on the conversation, lol.

    I recently posted a rather unattractive piece of “artwork” – Romney as the Devil, lol. I’m getting lots of comments already.

    I think everyone is incensed at Mitt “Bully” Romney. I know I am!

    He truly is a bully, sadist, homophobe and outright sociopath! Eww! Go back to your hole, Mitt!

  12. BB, I think one of Romney’s classmates is talking more about the bullying that happened.
    Romney’s former classmate: ‘You have to take it into account’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

    Phillip Maxwell wishes he had done something to stop it.

    Maxwell, a Michigan attorney, is still haunted by what he claims he witnessed on the campus of the state’s elite Cranbrook School in 1965: a young Mitt Romney and a group of friends holding down a classmate named John Lauber and cutting off chunks of his long hair.

    “It was not an event you take a lot of pride in. And it was that way for all of us,” Maxwell told CNN.

    Maxwell confirmed the story, first reported in the Washington Post. However, he insisted the incident was far worse than a high school prank.

    “I’m a lawyer. I know what an assault is. This kid was scared. He was terrified. That’s an assault,” Maxwell said.

    Romney said in an interview with Fox News Radio he does not recall the incident described in the Post article. But the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged he engaged in pranks that “might have gone too far” and apologized for any harm done during his time at Cranbrook.

    “Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney said.

    Maxwell told CNN he is disappointed in Romney’s response to the story.

    “He says he doesn’t remember it and I find it difficult to believe,” Maxwell said in a telephone interview.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, JJ. A lot of them seem to be talking now, and I haven’t seen any classmates defending this horrible assault yet.

      • I will look for it, but there were 2 statements from former classmates put out by the Romney campaign.

      • From the CNN link:

        Late in the day, the Romney campaign provided statements from other former classmates of the GOP contender.

        “Mitt was a thoughtful guy with a great sense of humor who cared about his classmates. He had a good perspective on how to balance all the pressures high school students face. He would never go out and do anything mean spirited. Clownish, yes. Never mean,” Richard Moon, one ex-classmate said in the statement furnished by the campaign.

        “Mitt never had a malicious bone in his body – trying to imply or characterize him as a bully is absurd,” John French, another former classmate, said in another statement released by Romney’s staff.

        Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said French “wasn’t involved in incident and doesn’t remember it happening.” She did not elaborate on the statement issued by Moon.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks, I’d like to see those.

      • bostonboomer says:

        JJ,

        Those sound like statements the campaign wrote for them. They don’t sound very credible after that lengthy, well-sourced article in the Post.

        • BB, not sure if you have seen this: What Romney the Teenager Says About Romney the Man | Mother Jones

          So either Romney has done this kind of thing so often that the Lauber incident just blends into all the others, which suggests a far more vicious childhood than he’s owned up to, or else he remembers it just fine and is simply lying about it.

          My guess is the latter. And that’s depressing, as much for what it says about modern politics as for what it says about Romney. Because, really, what would be the harm of just talking about this? Fess up, acknowledge that you remember the incident, explain that you feel terrible about it, maybe even draw some gauzy lessons about tolerance for the View set, etc.? But for some reason Romney is too politically insecure to do that. He’s obviously afraid that he’d pay some terrible price. Afraid that it would make his seem weak. That speaks badly for him, and badly for American politics.

          nothing new said…

          What was that thing George once told Jerry about beating a lie detector test? It is not a lie if you believe it…

        • Yes, I think you are right…

  13. Eric Boyer says:

    His real confession:

    “OK. Maybe I did. What are you gonna do about it, Skolnick? You gonna make a little speech? It’s not gonna do any good. Wanna know why? Because I’m strong and you’re weak. Because I’m the type of guy that everybody here wants to be like, and you are pathetic. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it’s always gonna be, and there’s nothing you or your pencil-neck geek friends can do or say about it. Comprende, d*ckhead?”

    Roger from Revenge of the Nerds 2.

  14. Prep School Bully, 2012. Artist Unknown.