FRANKLIN, Tenn. — A Tennessee telehealth platform executive was fired Monday after a viral video captured his public altercation with a teenage boy who wore a dress to senior prom.
WARNING: The video circulating widely on social media and linked to in this article contains strong profanity.
Sam Johnson, the former CEO of Nashville-based VisuWell, has been identified as the man seen in the TikTok video following Dalton Stevens around the exterior of downtown Franklin’s Harpeth Hotel and berating the teenager for wearing a floor-length evening gown to the Franklin High School prom Saturday night, The Tennessean reported.
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Two days later, VisuWell confirmed via Twitter that the company’s board of directors removed Johnson as CEO.
The company clarified its stance in a second statement issued via Twitter on Tuesday noting Johnson is no longer employed by VisuWell in any capacity.
“[Johnson] no longer has a position on the Board of Directors or any informal advisory role. His behavior was not representative of our values, which include respect and compassion for all,” the second statement said.
“VisuWell’s culture emphasizes respect, kindness and compassion, especially for those from traditionally marginalized communities, and we maintain a zero-tolerance policy for intolerance of any kind,” VisuWell stated, adding that Johnson’s actions “contradicted the high standards we set for ourselves in promoting the health of those who use our platform.”
The video captured national attention after Stevens’ boyfriend, Jacob Geittmann, posted the encounter online.
Geittmann told The Tennessean that a portion of the video in which Johnson glancingly strikes Stevens was actually the businessman’s attempt to swipe the phone on which Geittmann was recording out of his hand.
The video also captured audio of a woman, whom Geittmann identified as the mother of another prom attendee, approaching Johnson and pleading with him to stop, so the couple could enjoy their prom night, the newspaper reported.
“I very much view clothes as genderless,” Stevens told WKRN. “I think clothing should just be taken as a piece of cloth and nothing more. Everybody should just wear what they want and shouldn’t be ashamed to wear anything because of societal standards.”
Franklin police spokesman Lt. Charles Warner confirmed to The Tennessean that officers responded to the incident after hotel management reported an “unwanted person” and explained upon their arrival that a man had been involved in a courtyard confrontation with the teens, but the youths had left.
Warner also confirmed that when officers located Johnson in the hotel bar and informed him that he needed to leave that he denied the altercation to police, the newspaper reported.
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