Man behind viral firestorm 'The Dress' charged with trying to kill his wife

TheEllenShow/Youtube @HelloAgent_/Twitter

Man behind viral firestorm ‘The Dress’ charged with trying to kill his wife

Johnston is alleged to have abused his wife Grace for 11 years.


Beau Paul


Posted on Jul 15, 2023

The internet is in shock after the revelation that Keir Johnston, the Scottish man behind the 2015 sweeping viral sensation of “The Dress,” stands accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Johnston came into the public eye in 2015 when a photo of his mother-in-law’s dress divided the internet on whether it was white and gold or blue and black.

Johnston appeared before the High Court in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday. He is accused of attempting to murder his wife of eight years, Grace Johnston. According to The Times, Johnston is alleged to have carried out an 11-year-long pattern of abuse over the course of their relationship during which he repeatedly used physical abuse and coercion against Grace until finally attempting to kill her by pinning her to the ground and compressing her neck in March of 2022.

Johnston shot to internet fame in 2015 after Cecilia Bleasdale, Grace’s mother, sent her daughter a picture of the dress she intended to wear to the couple’s wedding. The dress was coloured blue with black lace but Grace saw it and believed it was white and gold. It was later shared on Tumblr by Caitlin McNeill a guest at the wedding, where it went viral. Soon after the entire world was debating what color it was.

The meme quickly propelled the couple to a brief spell of internet fame, culminating with an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the host presented the pair with a $10,000 check and a trip to the Caribbean. 

However, the new allegations seem to suggest that the couple’s “in real life” reality was far more fraught. Between 2019 and March 2022, Johnston is alleged to have put his wife into a headlock and dragged her out of a club. He also is claimed to have struck her through the open window of a vehicle.

In addition to threats of physical violence, Johnston has been accused of isolating Grace from friends and family. He is also said to have controlled her finances to the extent that she was dependent upon him for funds.

In a darkly ironic twist, “The Dress” meme was once used in a national awareness campaign to fight domestic violence.

Johnston denied all of the allegations before the court on Monday. A preliminary hearing is set to be scheduled before a trial which would proceed next year.

Share this article
*First Published: Jul 15, 2023, 5:13 pm CDT