Sebastian Stewart-Johnson, a senior studying political science at Brigham Young University and the co-founder of the Black Menaces, says he was recording a social media interview on Sept. 19 when a staff member threatened to call 911 if he didn’t stop recording.

It isn’t clear if the woman called law enforcement but Stewart-Johnson says he hasn’t heard anything from her nor the police afterwards. After the incident, he says he was followed by another student, who had been recording him before the staff member confronted him. Stewart-Johnson was followed for 15 minutes and the student tried to stop him from recording by obstructing the camera.

Stewart-Johnson was recording interviews for the Black Menaces’ social media platforms. The group was founded by five Black BYU students in February 2022. It was created with the goal of empowering marginalized communities and creating a safe place at the predominantly white institution, according to the organization’s website.

BYU is a private university in Provo, Utah, that is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only 1% of 34,000 students are Black, according to the institution.

The Black Menaces regularly interview their peers on topics of race, faith, equity and politics. They have gained national recognition for organizing a walkout in support of the LGBTQ+ community and for shedding light on racial discrimination on campus.

BYU prohibits filming and photography made for “promotional marketing, commercial, advocacy, or similar purposes.” It also allows people to “take video and photographs for personal use that are unobtrusive, are in keeping with other campus policies, and do not interrupt campus programs, classes, or activities.”

Stewart-Johnson noted that he doesn’t make money off ad revenue from Black Menaces’ videos. He said that didn’t return to campus for two days following the incident as he felt unsafe.

The Cougar Chronicle, a conservative student newspaper that is unaffiliated with the university, identified the student in the video as its editor-in-chief, Jacob Christensen. The outlet indicated that he was encouraged to follow Stewart-Johnson by a staff member.


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“We want to help all BYU students feel a sense of belonging and community on our campus,” Todd Hollingshead, BYU’s media relations manager, told NBC News.

Stewart-Johnson said that the Office of Belonging reached out to him and that he filed a report although he doesn’t “really have much trust in them.”


We disavow the BYU stalker and Karengate. Be nice in the comments. #blackmenaces #byu #byustalker #cougarclownicle #utah #provo

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The student says he took a week off recording following the incident but resumed activities on Tuesday. He has received support from his peers since then.

“I was very lucky that multiple people came up to me to say sorry,” he told the news outlet.