Mitt Romney offered an apology Thursday for "dumb things" he did in high school after a Washington Post piece alleged that he once tackled a gay student and cut his hair.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said he had no memory of the incident, though admitted he did some "dumb things" during his time at the Cranbook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
"I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize, but overall high school years were a long time ago," Romney said on the "Kilmeade and Friends" Fox News radio show, according to ABC News.
According to the Post, the incident took place in 1965 after Romney "spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases":
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.
"I don't remember that incident and I'll tell you I certainly don't believe that I...thought the fellow was homosexual," Romney said Thursday. "That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case."
The Post spoke with five former students who did recall the incident. Gary Hummel, then a closeted gay student, also remembered trying to speak out in English class only to have Romney call out, "Atta girl!"
“I can’t remember, you know my guess is a lot of time in my years in my boarding school where boys who do something and people say he says 'atta girl,' Romney said. “As for the teasing and the taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago, for me that’s about what 48 years ago, if there’s anything I said that was offensive to somebody I’m certainly sorry about that, very deeply sorry about that."
Romney's apology comes the day after President Barack Obama said he supports same-sex marriage.
Listen to Romney's comments below: