Tonight was supposed to witness Connecticut band the World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die visiting Dallas for a show at the Prophet Bar. But as of last night, that is no longer the case. Show cancellations are commonplace -- Ms. Lauryn Hill's scheduled appearance at South Side Ballroom Tuesday night was postponed at the last minute, for instance -- but in a more unusual twist TWIABP have opted to move the show to a new location, Club Dada, under the promotion of Parade of Flesh.
The change of plans came abruptly in the wake of abuse charges leveled against an employee of the original event promoter, Third String Productions, which have played out publicly on social media over the past few days.
On Halloween night, a woman from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, named Hanna Claxton posted a story on Tumblr that alleged battery, assault, theft and false imprisonment from Third String Production's director of marketing, Daniel DeFonce. The pair were on a trip to Austin, with Claxton having apparently come to visit DeFonce, a Dallas resident, here in Texas.
The full text of Claxton's post:
The post immediately generated a large and heated response. In quick succession, DeFonce took to Facebook and posted his own version of the events, insisting that he was innocent. His post also generated a large and heated response. People started taking sides. It was a modern schoolyard fight.
An excerpt from DeFonce's response:
She has now made a post on her Tumblr showing her face which has a bruise under her eye. That was from the dog park the first day she was here. I was throwing a toy for my dog Rosie to go fetch and Hanna was standing next to me and I did not see her. When the toy left my hand, my right thumb hit her eye. My roommates and other friends know what happened and she explained it to them as did I. It was not a big deal. Now she is making it out to be like I hit her which I did not. I have never ever laid a hand on a woman in my life. She is putting false information out there from HER SIDE OF THE STORY.
On Tuesday night, the situation escalated. TWIABP, along with their tour mates the Hotelier, Posture and Grizzly, became aware of the exchange and decided to disassociate from DeFonce. The bands issued a joint statement through social media at 6:30 p.m.announcing the changes to tonight's Dallas show. They are also getting out of Third String Production shows in Houston and Austin.
About an hour after the bands' statement, Third String Productions founder and president, Mike Ziemer, added another post to Facebook. In it he defends DeFonce against the accusations before adding that DeFonce is no longer employed by Third String Productions.
An excerpt from Ziemer's post:
What it comes down to for me is a very tough situation of defending one of my good friends and his reputation while also allowing him to step down from working with our company to keep myself and our name from any further association with this event. This is not our company throwing Dan under the bus and saying he is guilty, this is us allowing him to move forward with seeking justice for what he believes to be a case of defamation of character. As of today, Dan Defonce is no longer a member of the Third String Productions team and I hope for the sake of a man I believe to be a good and innocent person, he wins his case and is able to repair the damage that these accusations have done to his reputation.
Eleven minutes later, DeFonce also announced via Facebook that he is "stepping down" from his position with Third String.
While the online debate has already had some real-world consequences (in the form of DeFonce's resignation), what happened between DeFonce and Claxton will ultimately be decided legally. After all of the public exchanges that have taken place over the past several days -- the posts remain online and visible to the public -- the involved parties all declined to comment when the Observer reached out to them. On Facebook, DeFonce says he is rallying lawyers; when asked for comment, Claxton said she is now only talking about Halloween night with the police. Ziemer and the bands also declined further comment.
John Iskander, owner Parade of Flesh, sums up the situation: "The drama surrounding this is genuinely unfortunate; but we can't make assumptions until both sides are presented in a clear and acceptable medium versus long-winded Facebook and Tumblr posts."
Tickets for the canceled event will not be honored at Dada tonight, although Ticketfly is offering full refunds for the original tickets.
THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE perform with the Hotelier, Rozwell Kid, Posture and Grizzly at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, November 5, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $12