Grown Man Makes Fun Of Teen Boy Wearing Dress To Prom — And Is Immediately Fired From His Job

Photo: TikTok
Tennessee CEO Fired After Video Harassing Boy In Prom Dress

A Tennessee CEO has been fired after he was seen in a viral video seemingly harassing a teenage boy who wore a dress to prom.

The man has been identified as Sam Johnson, CEO of VisuWell, a telemedicine company. His actions prompted accusations of homophobia and harassment.

The teenager, Dalton Stevens, is seen getting visibly upset in the video and attempts to distance himself from Johnson who follows him, calling him “disgusting” and telling him he looks like an “idiot.”

The altercation with Stevens, who is 18, was filmed by the teenager’s boyfriend, with whom he was attending the Tennessee prom.

Stevens claims Johnson approached the couple as they were taking photos and began questioning Stevens’ choice to wear his floor-length red tulle gown.

The video is particularly jarring given the age gap between the man and the boy, as well as the harmlessness of Stevens’ choice of outfit.

He is simply a teenager who wanted to dress up for a special night before his fun was interrupted by a grown man refusing to keep his opinion to himself.

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Sam Johnson was fired after the homophobic exchange.

Johnson’s employer announced that his role in the company had been terminated as the actions demonstrated in the video "contradicted the high standards we set for ourselves."

"We unequivocally condemn the behavior exhibited by Sam Johnson in a recent video widely circulated on social media," VisuWell tweeted. "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 later clarified that Johnson is no longer employed by them in any capacity.

Johnson, however, denies the claim and says he had approached the teenagers after he overheard them using profanities and exhibiting “obnoxious, loud behavior” while he and his family were eating at the hotel.

"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 told Newsweek. "Making it about the dress was their idea, and they edited out most of the exchange."

In the video, another adult can be heard attempting to intervene and diffuse Johnson’s reaction, saying, “It's just prom. It's kids, it's a bunch of kids. Come on, dude."

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The Tennessee teen is making a stand against gender norms.

"I think I look good in it and that I really like the dress, and I want to show that clothing is genderless," Stevens said after the incident.

He is part of a growing movement of people breaking the barriers around clothing and gender expression.

The exchange is not unlike one shared between right-wing pundit Candace Owens and Harry Styles.

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Last year when she tweeted, “Bring back manly men,” after he wore a dress on a Vogue cover.

This view is rooted in the idea that clothing is defined by gender which itself has a rigid definition based on societal norms rather than personal choice.

Stevens’ choice to wear a dress has no bearing on his gender, nor does it influence Johnson or anyone else in any way. Yet, it has become common for people like Owens and Johnson to police gender expression in a way that is oppressive and borders on harassment.

Gender policing is a particularly sensitive issue in Tennessee which has joined several other states passing anti-trans laws that place restrictive rules on gender identities.

Among these laws are restrictions on access to gender-affirming healthcare and limits on transgender athletes.

These laws directly impact youths like those who attended prom with Stevens.

Witnessing a grown adult target a classmate because of how they are dressed would no doubt distress any teenager who doesn’t conform to the rigid gender norms Tennessee is trying to enforce.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.