Romney apologizes for prep school pranks, but denies knowing that a student he bullied was gay
There’s a story out today about claims by five of Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates in the 1960s that he was the ringleader in an incident in which a boy thought to be a homosexual was assaulted.
At first, I wasn’t going to post anything about this matter. Rumors about events of so long ago ordinarily aren’t grist for my mill. But now that Romney has addressed the issue, which brings it into the media mainstream, I’ll pass THIS along:
Mitt Romney made a surprise appearance on Fox host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show Thursday morning to respond to a lengthy Washington Post story on his time as a prep-school prankster and occasional bully of closeted gay students.
“They talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school,” Romney said. “And they describe some that you just say to yourself, back in high school I just did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by it, obviously I apologize.”
“I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize,” he added.
“The people involved didn’t come out of the closet until years later,” he noted. “The idea that this is something that was known by me … is obviously absurd. I had no idea that this person might have been gay.”
“I don’t remember that incident and I’ll tell you I certainly don’t believe that I, I can’t speak for other people of course, thought the fellow was homosexual,” he said earlier in the interview. “That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.
And there’s THIS:
The Romney campaign has approached one of Mitt Romney’s closest high school friends and asked him to give “supporting remarks” about Romney after a Washington Post story detailed a bullying incident from Romney’s time at the Cranbrook School, reports ABC News.
The friend, Stu White, told ABC he is still deciding whether he will help the campaign. White was not present when the specific incident in the Post story – in which Romney and others held down a fellow student presumed to be gay and cut his hair – took place. White told ABC that he knew several other classmates had also been contacted by the campaign and asked to counter the article’s portrayal of Romney.
UPDATE: And now there’s THIS:
Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.
“We remember well what Romney tried to do as governor of Massachusetts and we now we have more info on some of his own attitudes that may have led to his policy actions,” Eliza Byard, executive director of LGBT anti-bullying organization GLSEN, told TPM, drawing a connection with reports that Romney cornered a youth in high school and cut his hair. “If he’s willing to dismiss that incident as ‘hijinks,’ I could understand that he wouldn’t understand at all why this program was so critical.”
The Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, created by Republican Gov. William Weld in 1992 in response to newly released statistics showing alarmingly high suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens, was designed to combat harassment in schools. It served at the pleasure of the state’s chief executive. The commission funded Gay Straight Alliances in high schools and provided training and information for teachers.