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CEO Fired for Mocking Teen Boy's Prom Dress

VisuWell says Sam Johnson's actions are not in line with its 'high standards'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2021 4:00 AM CDT
Updated May 2, 2021 3:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – The former CEO of telemedicine company VisuWell is out of a job due to remarks he made at a Tennessee high school prom. Dalton Stevens, 18, was with his boyfriend Jacob Geitmann, taking pictures at a hotel prior to the Franklin High School event, when they encountered Sam Johnson, who allegedly asked Stevens why he was wearing a dress. He allegedly made homophobic and derogatory remarks, and part of the incident was caught on video by Geitmann, who posted the footage online Sunday. By the following day, VisuWell had condemned Johnson's actions and announced he'd been terminated effective immediately; on Tuesday, the company further clarified that Johnson is no longer employed there "in any capacity."

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Johnson says the exchange didn't happen the way the teens describe, telling Newsweek that he was upset about "obnoxious, loud behavior" and approached the group to ask them to "tone down the vulgarities around the families and children who were present," including Johnson's. He says most of the exchange was "edited out" of the video, but Geitmann says Johnson hit his phone out of his hand when he first started recording, and what ended up online was his second attempt. Geitmann also says Johnson at one point hit Stevens in the back while taking a swipe at Geitmann's phone. Johnson claims he left on his own, but police confirm he was asked to leave by officers who responded, NBC News reports. Stevens tells WKRN he wants to raise awareness about gender norms and clothing, and says he knew he looked amazing at his prom. (Read more Tennessee stories.)

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