Tony Piloseno, a senior student at Ohio State University, was working as a part-time employee at a local Sherwin-Williams store for over three years before pitching the idea to the company to enhance their social media presence.
He told his employers that his viral account on TikTok @tonesterpaints is an example of what Sherwin-Williams could do on social media, hoping that they would let him market the brand to a younger audience but instead he was fired, according to BuzzFeed News.
The company ignored Piloseno’s pitch for months and then reached out to say that there is no need to see the presentation since “there weren’t any promotions going on.”
Sherwin-Williams first accused Piloseno of stealing and asked him if he was filming the videos in-store when customers were around.
The company later investigated Piloseno’s TikTok account, claiming that the videos of him mixing paint colors were made during working hours.
He was fired on the basis of “gross misconduct” that included “wasting properties and facilities” and “seriously embarrassing the company or its products,” according to termination papers obtained by BuzzFeed News.
It was also argued that Piloseno’s employment was terminated due to a customer complaint about his TikToks which led to an investigation and ultimately to his termination, a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News shortly after the story was published.
The company said it received phone calls about mixing blueberries into their paint because one of the viral TikTok videos said so.
The college student did admit to filming TikToks while serving customers when he first started the viral account in December, but with a growing fan-base he committed to buying paint with his employee discount, he told BuzzFeed News.
Piloseno is now trying to make a full-time job out of his mixing paint account and he is currently working on a logo and bought a domain name for his own website in hopes to sell his own paint products, according to BuzzFeed News.
Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Sherwin-Williams is a leading paint manufacturing and coating company.