The man kept following the teen with a smirk on his face, but ultimately denied all allegations against him.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of homophobia that may be disturbing to readers
A teenage boy wore 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." However, before heading to the event, Dalton Stevens, 18, and his boyfriend Jacob Geitmann stopped by at a hotel with their friends to take a few pictures. According to NBC News, an adult began acting "homophobic" around them. Stevens recalls that the man walked up to them and asked Stevens if he knew what he was wearing. "I think I look good in it and that I really like the dress, and I want to show that clothing is genderless," Stevens responded. "And I explained that to him, and he continued to just call me names and just follow me."
Soon, the man was identified as VisuWell CEO Sam Johnson. Stevens alleged that Johnson called him "stupid," along with other vulgar names, in a homophobic manner. Johnson even told him that he has "hair on your chest, you shouldn't be wearing a dress." Around this time, Geitmann began to record the incident. Stevens can be heard telling Johnson that he is free to choose what he wants to wear and that Johnson can "f--- off." In the video, Geitmann can be heard asking Johnson whether he thinks Stevens looks "disgusting," and Johnson responds that he does.
it was my beautiful boyfriend wearing the dress but I’m more than happy to share some pics!! pic.twitter.com/DmSdG4uOKj— Jacob Geittmann (@jacobgeittmann2) April 26, 2021
The boys then walk away from Johnson. Instead of letting it go, the man follows him and tells him he looks like an "idiot." He then notices that he's being filmed, so he swung out his hands to hit the phone but he accidentally hit Stevens instead. "No sir, I can f—ing record you all I want," says Geittmann. "Keep talking. You look like a moron." By then, a few other people approach Johnson and ask him to leave the kids alone, according to god.dailydot.com. "It’s just prom. It’s kids, it’s a bunch of kids," says one voice. "Come on, dude." Despite that, Johnson continues to stare at Stevens, to which he replies "I’m sorry, I’m gorgeous," and Johnson sneers: "Are you?"
What a horrible thing to have happen to you and your boyfriend on such a special night. There simply is no room for such ignorance and hate and I hope this waste of space learns something really soon. Hugs to you.— Kimmie Snowflake⚜️ (@kimmieb7) April 26, 2021
The adults then suggest that Stevens move away from Johnson. "He’s the one who’s following us, we moved," Stevens can be heard saying. "Like, we moved from over there to over here." Geitmann shared the encounter on TikTok, "He looked gorgeous, everybody loved it, nobody had a problem with it." He mentioned that the man started harassing his boyfriend with "homophobic banter" just as they were about to leave the hotel. Geittmann said once hotel staff intervened, Johnson feigned ignorance and denied all allegations.
Shame people think they can bring their schoolyard bully persona to a public event. Consider announcing next time u don’t know the person in confrontation. Ppl tend to not get involved if they think parties are known. I had odd men tell me my septum piercing was ugly in my 20s.— susanA Ⓥ (@vegansince96) April 26, 2021
"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, per Newsweek. "I'm like, 'Dude, I have a minute-long video of you harassing us, you can't just blatantly deny it like that.'"
Johnson denied the allegations as "entirely false," saying the confrontation "wasn't anything personal or involving a dress," it was more "about obnoxious, loud behavior by this group of teens."
Johnson said he had approached the teenagers to request they "tone down the vulgarities around the families and children who were present," including his own. "We had just sat down for dinner at this restaurant that we frequent, and I was returning from the restroom when I was presented with their loud cursing," Johnson said. "Making it about the dress was their idea and they edited out most of the exchange. I have no ill will towards anyone or their personal choices, so long as it does not harm me or my family," he added.
After the video of the homophobic exchange, VisuWell also posted that Johnson had been fired. "After investigating the matter and speaking to individuals involved, the VisuWell BOD has chosen to terminate Mr. Johnson from his position as CEO."
Please inform us if he was completely terminated or if he remains as an employee in any capacity. It matters. He needs to be fired. Otherwise you’re just grandstanding.— It’sMeFritts (@FrittsMeredith) April 27, 2021