On Monday, Vanity Fair published an exclusive, never-before-seen yearbook photo of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, alleging he was impersonating Liberace. But is the photo authentic or a phony?
The photo shows a young Romney laughing with two friends at Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. as he poses popping his right hip and putting forth a limp wrist. Vanity Fair included the caption of the photo, which read, “Uproarious old Mitt does his best Liberace!”
The magazine said the pose was in reference to stories where he poked fun of gay classmates, writing, “His now familiar childhood grin is on full display as he mocks gay classmates, slips a teacher a Mickey, and even fires a beloved school janitor.”
However, the photo is fake, intended to be a humorous jab at Romney, since the photo was filed under the “Humor” tab of the Politics section. In addition, Vanity Fair said it obtained the images from a “disgruntled employee in the Romney-family stables” who insisted on being called “R.R.” For those curious enough to click on the provided URL, the magazine linked to an article about the Romney horse, Rafalca, alleging the horse was the source. Add to the mix the credit listed for Hamish Robertson for “Photo Illustrations,” and there’s the proof that Vanity Fair pulled a prankk like The Onion on us all.
According to a Washington Post article from May, Romney reportedly used to prank students a lot and once forcibly cut a gay student’s hair during his years at prep school. However, Romney apologized for the acts on Fox News Radio, adding that he was unaware some of the students were gay.
“They talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school … 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,” he said.