Back in 1965, Mitt Romney apparently thought a boy at his tony all-boys prep school had a haircut that was a little “too gay.” So, the Washington Post reports, Romney took out a pair of scissors, ambushed and pinned the boy to the ground, and gave him an amateur snippy-snippy.
Here are all the troubling details:
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.
If there’s a silver lining to this story, I guess it’s that we can now call Romney an amateur cosmetician with a dissatisfied gay client. The not-so-silving lining: Lauber changed his hair back to brown and got kicked out of school before graduating for smoking a cigarette. A classmate of Romney’s ran into Lauber at the airport years later, and Lauber told him the incident was “horrible.”
Lauber also admitted the experience was traumatic: “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.” Just another piece of evidence that, far from being a rite of passage, bullying has lifelong negative consequences.