NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Tennessee man who was captured on video telling a boy wearing a prom dress “you look like an idiot,” says he’s filing a federal lawsuit against Kathy Griffin, claiming the comedian stirred up a damaging backlash against him and his family.
Sam Johnson, a former CEO of a healthcare company, says he and his family were subjects of online harassment after video of the confrontation started circulating in April 2021.
Cellphone video taken April 24, 2021, captured Dalton Stevens, a then-senior at Franklin High School, being ridiculed by a man later identified as Johnson — seen saying “you look like an idiot” to Stevens.
The viral clip caught the attention of celebrities, including Kathy Griffin.
Two days after the incident, Johnson, then-CEO of local telemedicine company VisuWell, was terminated by the company.
On April 28, 2021, Johnson told WKRN that the incident wasn’t about Stevens’ attire, “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.”
Just over a year after the incident, Johnson tweeted that he’s filing the lawsuit to “stand up against the woke social mob that wants to strip us of our livelihoods and careers.”
Griffin tweeted she would fight the suit and not settle, adding she doesn’t think Johnson got fired because of her.