Ohio University senior and TikTok star Tony Piloseno was fired for gross misconduct from his part-time job at Sherwin-Williams after working for three years at the store. The reason? He was making his popular paint-mixing videos during working hours with company equipment.
Specifically, Piloseno says it was this video, which shows him using blueberries to create a light-blue paint, that earned what Sherwin-Williams described to BuzzFeed News as complaints and “seriously embarrass[ing] the Company or its products.”
While Piloseno admits he began filming his TikToks while mixing paints for Sherwin-Williams customers, as his page grew, he bought his own paint with his employee discount. “They made me answer a bunch of questions like when I was doing this,” he said, “where, if there was anyone in the store while I was doing [filming]. There was never anyone with me while I doing it.”
Piloseno and his @tonesterpaint handle found near immediate success. His sixth video on the platform gained a million views. However, this success clearly was not as valued within his company. Piloseno says earlier this spring, he created a pitch deck “to show the company how TikTok has a younger base” and that he “emailed [a marketing contact] about two or three times …. He basically told me there wasn’t really any promotions going on so there wasn’t a need to see the presentation.”
In fact, the company grew more concerned by the TikTok videos after receiving calls from customers about experimental paint mixing.
Piloseno was fired in July. However, he continues to mix paints and create his videos in a friend’s basement. While the platform does not yet offer him a full-time income, he’s hopeful that it will one day. “I’m working on making a logo; I just bought a domain name to make my own website,” he told Buzzfeed. “I’m hoping to sell my own merchandise and my own paint colors.”