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President Gutmann Reveals That Ben Franklin and the Quaker Mascot Had an 'Intense' Sexual Relationship


Photos (with edits) by David Martin / CC0 and Sage Levine / The Daily Pennsylvanian

In an exclusive interview with UTB last week, Penn President Amy Gutmann revealed that two beloved icons of the University were involved in an "intense" sexual relationship.

"Most people don't realize that the relationship between Benjamin Franklin and our Quaker mascot was actually incredibly intense. It was a passionate, erotic relationship," Gutmann offered, unprompted, as she sidestepped a question regarding Penn's investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Many students were surprised to learn that the mascot —  a fictional, generic caricature of a Quaker man — and actual Penn founder Ben Franklin had any relationship in University lore, much less one with a sexual dimension. Most were unaware they existed in the same literary universe at all. 

Gutmann's statement appears to be an attempt to queer the canon of Penn mythology, providing a backstory to the school's mascot that promotes its diversity initiative.

"I mean, one can never know all the details, and I wouldn't want to label it gay or straight or what have you," Gutmann continued, again, without anyone having asked a question on the matter. "But one thing is certain: Ben Franklin and the Quaker had a torrid but unstable affair — one that eventually led to Franklin's death at age 84 and to the mascot's tragic decision to grow a ponytail."

Despite repeated calls, the Office of the President declined to comment on whether informational University pamphlets would be updated to reflect these revelations.