Man behind ‘#The Dress’ that ‘broke the internet’ jailed for attacking wife: Report | World News - Hindustan Times
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Man behind ‘#The Dress’ that ‘broke the internet’ jailed for attacking wife: Report

By | Written by Lingamgunta Nirmitha Rao
Jun 07, 2024 01:52 PM IST

The phenomenon began with a photo of “the dress” posted on Facebook, where viewers debated whether it was blue-black or white-gold.

The man behind the viral social media post featuring ‘#TheDress’, which famously caused a stir on the internet, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for assaulting his wife, BBC reported, citing the Glasgow High Court.

The incident occurred in March 2022, when Keir Johnston, 39, reportedly pinned his partner Grace to the ground and choked her. (Source: via BBC)
The incident occurred in March 2022, when Keir Johnston, 39, reportedly pinned his partner Grace to the ground and choked her. (Source: via BBC)

The incident occurred in March 2022, when Keir Johnston, 39, reportedly pinned his partner Grace to the ground and choked her during a disagreement at their residence on the island of Colonsay in Argyll and Bute.

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The couple gained worldwide media attention in 2015 when a photograph of his mother-in-law's dress sparked a heated internet debate over its colour. They also appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in the US, where they received $10,000 and a luxury trip to Grenada.

Here's what happened

The court was informed that the couple's relationship was described as “volatile” and according to the BBC report, Johnston became enraged with his wife during an argument at their home. Subsequently, he tackled her to the ground and strangled her with both hands.

Johnston allegedly maintained pressure on her neck until a bystander intervened and separated them. He then reportedly threatened to "finish her off," engaged in another struggle with his wife, brandished a knife, uttered a further threat that “somebody was going to die”, and then attempted self-harm, as per the court proceedings.

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He admitted guilt at the same court last month for assaulting his wife, causing her injury, and putting her life in danger. The defence lawyer urged the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence, stating that Johnston had voluntarily sought help for his behavioural issues.

However, the judge determined that only a custodial sentence was appropriate, saying, "She feared for her life. The strangling lasted 20 seconds." The judge further said that Grace's memory of the incident would have a lasting impact and that she couldn't comprehend her husband's lack of remorse.

In addition to a 54-month jail term, which was reduced from 60 months because of his early guilty plea, Johnston received a 10-year prohibition from contacting or coming near his wife.

What was the original colour of ‘The Dress’?

The phenomenon began with a photo of a dress posted on Facebook, where viewers debated whether it was blue-black or white-gold. Despite the dress being “black and blue,” the photo's conditions caused many to perceive it as white and gold, sparking widespread debate.

Over a week, the dress garnered over ten million tweets, with even celebrities like Taylor Swift chiming in, adding to the viral sensation.

This phenomenon shed light on differences in human colour perception, leading to scientific investigations in neuroscience and vision science.

Researchers conducted studies on the phenomenon, published in Current Biology on May 14, Their findings suggest that differences in perceived colour relate to how the brain interprets colours under varying lighting conditions, known as colour constancy.

In one study involving 1,401 participants, 57% saw the dress as blue-black, 30% as white-gold and smaller percentages as blue-brown or other colours.

Some participants reported changing their perception of the dress's colours upon repeated testing. The brain's assumptions about the dress's illumination likely contribute to these differences in colour perception.

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