Senior Sebastian Stewart-Johnson is a member of the “Black Menaces,” a group of Black BYU students who have gone viral for conducting interviews with their predominately white classmates. Stewart-Johnson said he was recording an interview with a student on September 19 when a BYU staffer threatened to call 911 if he didn’t stop.
After an argument ensued, Stewart-Johnson said the university staff member left. It’s unclear if she actually called 911.
Stewart Johnson said he was then followed by another student, who was recording him before his interaction with the staff member. The student allegedly stood in front of Stewart-Johnson’s camera operator to obstruct the recording of his interviews.
In a video shared by the Black Menaces, Stewart-Johnson asked the student whether it was okay to follow people.
“Yeah, especially you guys,” the man responded. “You guys are the worst piece of journalism I’ve ever seen.”
The Cougar Chronicle, a student-run newspaper unaffiliated with the university, reported that its editor-in-chief, Jacob Christensen, was following Stewart-Johnson and was encouraged to do so by the unidentified staff member.
“It was irritating me a lot because I’m a Black person who goes to this campus. There’s not much for me to do to protect myself,” Stewart-Johnson said.
Todd Hollingshead, BYU’s media relations manager, said the university’s Office of Belonging contacted Stewart-Johnson to discuss his concerns.
“We want to help all BYU students feel a sense of belonging and community on our campus,” Hollingshead said in a statement.
Stewart Johnson confirmed that he was contacted but said he doesn’t “really have much trust” in university officials.