Home News Bay Area congressman's regrettable yearbook photo goes viral – SFGate

Bay Area congressman's regrettable yearbook photo goes viral – SFGate

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It’s far, far from the worst yearbook-related scandal a politician has faced in recent months, but Bay Area Rep. Eric Swalwell endured some mocking on social media Wednesday after his high school yearbook photo went viral — and revealed the young Swalwell’s fondness for tanning and spiky bleached-blonde locks.

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The picture, taken as Swalwell’s senior portrait in his final year at Dublin High School in 1999, was first surfaced by the Mercury News in a story about California politicians‘ goofy yearbook photos. Other photos reveal Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s fondness for disco shirts, and Governor Gavin Newsom posing as his class’s “most stylish” in a button-down shirt and a Burberry-style plaid scarf, with a similar hairstyle to the one he sports today.


The photo of Swalwell prompted NBC political reporter Kasie Hunt to muse that “the 90s were a rough decade.”

Swalwell’s response was a good-natured mea culpa.

“All of us make bad decisions in high school,” Swalwell wrote on Twitter. “Sometimes those decisions involve bleach. I swear there were others.”

He followed his admission of guilt with a punny hashtag: “#BleachBoys.”

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The picture spawned a truly inspired range of comparisons from haters online. Many said the look made Swalwell resemble Iceman from “Top Gun.” Others thought it was more Vanilla Ice, prompting one woman, Rachel Spensieri, to suggest “stop, collaborate and listen” as a 2020 campaign slogan.

Still more compared him to the mean jock from “Napoleon Dynamite,” a member of Sugar Ray, a “sunburned hedgehog,” Colin from “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” Biff from “Back to the Future,” a Chia Pet, a loofah, and a guy in a music video for Len’s 1999 hit “Steal My Sunshine.”

Others kept the insults brutally simple.

“No wonder he hates everyone,”  wrote Rick Hagar on Twitter.

Despite the pile-on, the style had its defenders, including one SFGATE staffer who maintains that “That is 100% what a person in Dublin looked like in the 1990s.”

Some defenders went even further.

“This was actually the hairstyle ‘cool’ people had at that time,” wrote Stephen Agnew.

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