The CEO of a telemedicine company was fired Monday after he was seen on video appearing to harass a teenage boy who wore a dress to his prom Saturday night, saying the teenager looked like an “idiot.”
The man, who has been identified as VisuWell CEO Sam Johnson, has been “terminated” from his job according to a statement from VisuWell.
“We unequivocally condemn the behavior exhibited by Sam Johnson in a recent video widely circulated on social media. After investigating the matter and speaking to individuals involved, the VisuWell BOD has chosen to terminate Mr. Johnson from his position as CEO, effective immediately,” the company said in a statement.
Official Statement pic.twitter.com/cMYoAEbI9d
— Visuwell (@VisuWell) April 27, 2021
The student Johnson harassed in the video, Dalton Stevens, 18, said Monday that he decided to wear a dress to his senior prom in Franklin, about 20 miles south of Nashville, to show that “clothing is really genderless” and “it has no meaning.”
Stevens said he was shocked when a grown man began acting “homophobic” as he and his boyfriend, Jacob Geitmann, began taking photos with friends at a hotel before the Franklin High School prom.
In the video, Johnson can be seen arguing with a visibly upset high schooler wearing a floor-length red tulle gown at a hotel in Tennessee.
Stevens can be heard telling Johnson: “I chose what I wanna wear so you can f*** off,” to which the man retorts: “Is that right?” Stevens then walks away from Johnson, who subsequently follows, stands near the high schooler and says: “You look like an idiot.”
The distressed teen shouts “F*** off” at Johnson and “Get the f*** away from me.”
Homophobic POS in Tennessee harasses a teenager for wearing a dress to prom pic.twitter.com/Ftt2a184jX
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) April 26, 2021
Johnson then appears to try smacking the phone out of Geittmann’s hand. In a pair of TikTok videos giving his side of the story, Geittman said Johnson swung at his phone and missed, instead hitting Stevens on the back.
The video ends with off-camera voices pleading with a smiling Johnson to stop, with one telling him: “It’s just prom. It’s kids, it’s a bunch of kids. Come on, dude.”
Also off-camera, Stevens can be heard saying “I’m sorry, I’m gorgeous,” to which Johnson replies: “Are you?”
Geittmann, a college student, said Stevens decided to wear a dress to prom in an effort to “break the stigma around men wearing dresses.”
“He looked gorgeous, everybody loved it, nobody had a problem with it,” he said on TikTok.
Geittmann said Johnson began harassing his boyfriend with “homophobic banter” as the couple was about to leave the hotel, where they took photos.
“This man comes up, stands about an inch behind my boyfriend and asks ‘What are you wearing?’ and he’s like ‘A dress, why?’ and he’s like ‘Well why are you wearing that? You shouldn’t be wearing that,’” Geittmann said.
After Stevens stood by his outfit choice, Johnson began going “on and on” about the boy looking “disgusting,” “ridiculous” and “an idiot,” according to his boyfriend.
Geittmann said he first recorded the incident on his phone, but the VisuWell CEO successfully hit the device out of his hand. The video that is now viral appears to show Geittmann’s second attempt at filming.
Geittmann said once hotel staff intervened, Johnson feigned ignorance and denied accosting the couple.
“He pretends like he has absolutely no clue what’s going on, he’s standing there, he’s like ‘I’ve just been standing here the whole time, I don’t know what’s going on, I didn’t try to talk to them, I didn’t hit them, I didn’t try to smack his phone out of his hand,’” Geittmann recounted.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, I have a minute-long video of you harassing us, you can’t just blatantly deny it like that.’”
Geittmann, who alleged Johnson was visibly intoxicated, said hotel staff eventually expelled him from the premises and called the police.
Johnson denied the allegations as “entirely false,” telling Newsweek that the confrontation “wasn’t anything personal or involving a dress,” rather “about obnoxious, loud behavior by this group of teens.”