The Franklin man fired from his corporate job following a confrontation with teens last weekend told his side of the story on TV Tuesday night.
The Home Page reached out to now former VisuWell CEO Sam Johnson, but Johnson declined to issue a statement. Johnson did appear on conservative media outlet Newsmax on Tuesday night.
In his appearance on Greg Kelly Reports, Johnson said that he thinks that the students "came out to cause trouble, frankly," adding that he and his family members who were eating at the hotel's restaurant were paying customers while the students came by only to take photos before prom.
"They knew that they would cause a scene, and they wanted to," Johnson told Kelly.
In an interview with WKRN, Nashville's ACB News affiliate, Johnson said that his issue was not with Steven's choice to wear a dress, instead arguing that it was about the behavior of the group of students.
"It had nothing at all to do with his attire," Johnson told WKRN. "It was all about their behavior originally. They made it about the attire. They were being obnoxious and profane in one of my favorite restaurants. Many of us in the restaurant were appalled and I was the only one willing to say something about it."
Stevens, and his boyfriend 19-year-old Jacob Geittmann, who filmed the encounter, denied that they were being loud or obnoxious when they were taking photos inside the hotel near the restaurant or when they entered the courtyard, repeating their stance that they believe that Johnson's words and actions were "homophobic."
"When I originally started recording the video, my main purpose was to hold Mr. Johnson accountable for his actions," Geittmann said.
Johnson also said in his interview with Kelly that he appreciated the people at his former job, VisuWell.
"That company is very dear to me, and the people who are in it are very dear to me, so I hope that they do well," Johnson said.
At the end of his interview with Kelly, Johnson said that he issued an apology to 18-year-old Dalton Stevens, the Franklin High School student seen wearing a red dress to prom in the viral video, in a direct message on Twitter and did not receive a response.
That apology reads in full, "Hi Dalton, please forgive me for calling you an idiot. I'm extremely sorry for that. I'm not against you in any way."
Stevens confirmed receiving the apology and chose not to respond.
"I didn't respond because I very much feel that was sort of just a forced sorry, that he only said that because he knew that I have him on video for that," Stevens said. "None of the other things that he said to me made me feel, none of the other things were brought up in his apology, it was just the only thing that I had proof of with the video. He never mentioned anything else."
Stevens said that he had no idea how far the story and video would reach.
"Thousands of people have DM'd [direct message] me and given me their love and support," Stevens said. "I never thought in a million years that this would have done that. It's been very overwhelming."
Stevens and Geittmann said that they didn't let the incident ruin their prom experience, with Stevens adding that students and peers who he never thought would support him have expressed their respect and support not only for his choice to wear a dress, but also in standing up for his beliefs.
"Even if you don't believe in someone's beliefs or what they stand for or what they do, why tear them down? That gains nothing and accomplishes nothing," Stevens said. "It will possibly make them feel worse, and if that makes you feel happy then that just makes you a very demented person, and just very wrong."
"In today's society we should love every person for their uniqueness, and not shame them for absolutely anything that they chose to do in their life or what they choose to wear."