On November 21st, 1987, Hunter S. Thompson, the journalist and famed author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries, and many more, came to Brown to participate in an academic debate with G. Gordon Liddy, moderated by none other than the legendary Dean Barrett Hazeltine. Liddy, a lawyer who, among other things, directed and organized the burglary of the Democratic National Committee in 1972—a scandal that would infamously come to be known simply as “Watergate”—stood in stark contrast to the staunch liberal and psychedelically inspired writer.
The event was made possible, in part, by a student named Dan McCormack ’90, who met Thompson in his Colorado home that summer and suggested the idea. After some consideration and administrative scheduling, dates and times were set, flights were booked, and tickets were sold all leading up to a highly anticipated campus event. However, on the day of, those times were pushed back, the flights were missed and not tickets, but rather drugs—lots of drugs—were sold to and consequently consumed by the esteemed author. The Brown Daily Herald reported on the event in all of its glory, and to its credit, documented everything it could have possibly known. Looking back some 28 years later, details of the Thompson-Liddy debate were overlooked, missed and risk being forever forgotten and unheard. Thanks to an unnamed source—call him our “Deep Throat“—the full story can now be unveiled.