Third String Productions Earns Ire Following Accusations of Abuse Against Now-Former Employee.
Supposedly charming and verbose emo revivalist band names notwithstanding, the world is not a beautiful place. Beneath its shiniest, winsome veneers, it's rather ugly in actuality — and especially so on the Internet, where its darkest corners are only magnified.
Case in point: All the drama in this week's episode of ongoing the soap opera that is Third String Productions & The “Scene” Scene.
Long story short: An employee of frequently mall punk-inclined promotions company Third String Productions — an entity long familiar with various modes of Internet notoriety — got into an argument with a girl that he may or may not have been dating. Things appear to have gotten abusive during a recent trip the two took together to Austin — perhaps even physically so — and the drama between the two has since entered the public forum as the two have taken to social media to share their stories and general disapproval of each other's actions. Now, as a result, at least one tour (The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die with Hotelier, Posture and Grizzly) has backed out of a scheduled show that was to be hosted by Third String at the Prophet Bar this evening. That show will now take place at Club Dada tonight, where it will be promoted by another Dallas-based concert company, Parade of Flesh, which confirms that the TWIABP tour came to them proposing that they host the show and not the other way around.
Want the longer version? OK, here goes.
On October 31, a Milwaukee woman named Hanna Claxton uploaded a post to her Tumblr page in which she called Third String employee Daniel DeFonce “a monster” and accused him of physically and verbally assaulting her during a recent trip the two took together to Austin. She included in that post a photo of herself with a black eye.
Her post read as follows.
If any of you know any band or person that is affiliated with this man, Daniel DeFonce, please put what I have to say in consideration.
Beyond what he will tell you, he is a monster. Physically and mentally.
I flew down from Milwaukee, WI to visit him in Dallas, TX October 28th for a five day visit. Little did I know, a few days later (about 2:30am on October 31st) I would be crying, sitting down with the police at a random Holiday Inn Express in Austin, Texas explaining the scarring experience I had just went though.
In a childish fit of jealousy, on the way to the hotel, from the bar, he threatened to leave me out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Texas, in the middle of the night. Multiple times. But I sat there quietly because I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t use my phone because every time I would look at it, he would freak out and try to steal it from me. As we got to the hotel room, he trapped me in the room and continued to scream at me. As I went to go use the bathroom, he barged in asking me about texts in my phone, that he found because he looked over my shoulder at some point of the trip to figuring out my passcode. He then proceeded to shattered my phone on the ground in front of me. Further reaching to grab my head and smashed it against the counter. He refused to let me call the cops by blocking me and unplugging the phone. He, then, pushed me on the bed, grabbed my glasses off my face, broke them in half and threw them across the room. I then ran downstairs to the lobby to call the cops and as that happened he took my wallet (with about $200, my cards, and my ID in it) and fled the scene.
He is currently at a party at his loft in Dallas, TX. Drinking with no remorse.
A police report confirming that the cops were called to the scene be found here.
I want to make something very clear to everyone out there. This girl (Hanna Claxton) came down to my place earlier this week. We were seeing each other. After a couple days here, we went to Austin last night. After leaving where we were hanging out at to go back to the hotel I got us, I noticed a text message that popped up on her phone and I opened it. It was from a guy where she was texting him back and forth about how she can't wait to get home to have sex with him. After I showed her it, she didn't say anything and I did throw her phone which ended up breaking. After we were yelling back and forth and neither of us calming down, she left the room. I then proceeded to pack up my bag and leave the hotel to my friends place.
She then called the cops on me which I have not been contacted by. 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.
She is pissed because I left her at the hotel and went back home the next morning without her. I have her suitcase in my room and was going to ship it back on Monday which I told her I would do with everything in it. I told her I would replace her iPhone as well or get it fixed if it was able to get fixed.
I am not going to argue with anyone about this because everyone will believe what they want. My friends know who I am and know that is not the person she is making me out to be.
Each of the above posts went viral, attracting hundreds of social interactions. And, just yesterday, that attention crested as TWIABP and its tourmates released statements announcing the altered tour dates and the decision to distance themselves from Third String Productions.
Below is the statement TWIABP put on its Facebook page, re-posted in full.
Hey so yesterday morning we saw a post from a woman, Hanna, about her recent experience of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse perpetrated by Dan DeFonce. Dan is a part of the music world that inevitably overlaps with our own, working as a booking agent with Rock The Nation USA and working promotion for Third String Productions in Texas. With knowledge that all Texas shows for the The World Is…/Hotelier/Rozwell Kid/Posture & The Grizzly tour were booked through Third String Productions, we thought we should probably address this and in a transparent way. We reached out to Hanna, whose main concern was to keep people safe from Dan’s temper and disregard for other’s privacy and well-being. With this intention, we have decided that it was unsafe to bring listeners of our bands into the community that Dan DeFonce belongs to and that it was undesirable and ethically wrong to play a show where we benefit from the labor and social capital of Third String. So in response, all shows have been moved and separated from Third String’s involvement. Here is the info on our upcoming shows:
ALL PREVIOUS TICKETS WILL BE REFUNDED
11/5: Club Dada. Dallas, TX booked by Parade of Flesh
11/6: the Summit. Houston, TX booked by the Summit
11/7: Holy Mountain in Austin, TX booked by Transmission Productions
Less than an hour later, Third String Productions' Mike Ziemer posted his own take on the situation and expressing his own frustrations.
Since this post will likely be shared a million times and go viral like everything else on the internet, I am going to start out by introducing myself. My name is Mike Ziemer and I started putting on concerts in 2004. I have been putting on concerts and music festivals for over 10 years now. Not once during those 10 years of running a business have I allowed anyone within my company to have questionable character, in my eyes. I pride myself on professionalism and working with good people. Anyone that actually knows me will back this up. I have worked very hard to get where I am at and I have always treated everyone I've come in contact with fairly.
To get to the point… One of my employees, Dan DeFonce invited a girl by the name of Hanna Claxton down to Texas to see him. The two had known eachother for years and as far as we had all heard, and witnessed in person, the trip to Texas was for “romantic” reasons, they liked eachother. The first day she was here, I met her. When I met her she had a developing black eye from being hit by a dog toy at the dog park, this is something that she had posted and admitted was the case. After we said our “hellos” she cuddled up with Dan on the couch, they watched some TV or something, and they proceeded to hangout for the rest of that week, or couple days, whatever it was. Following a trip to Austin with Dan, she posted an image of that black eye and a statement about an event that she claims happened in Austin. As everyone knows, there are 3 sides to every story, his side, her side, and the truth. Since none of us besides the two of them know the actual truth, there has been a “he said / she said” internet war going on with too much hate for me to handle, from people on both sides. While her story seems to be very misleading, have many holes and contradictions in it, and I personally 100% believe Dan's side of the story, others may not.
About 30 minutes ago, two bands The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die and The Hotelier that I personally love musically, took it upon themselves to make a very bold statement about the situation. In doing so they involved my company and made us look, for lack of a better term, shitty. I believe that they have only reached out to one side of the story and made up their minds about the situation, which they are free to do. And while I respect their decision and understand their views, I think it was handled in an improper manner without personally reaching out to Dan or myself. At this point, it's too late for that. My company Third String Productions has now been made out to be a “villain” in a situation that I am not even involved in.
This is the unfortunate truth about our day and age, we live in a society where people are automatically guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. We live in a world that loves to conduct modern day witch hunts and burn people's reputations at the stake without any thought or concern for the actual truth. There is no judge, no jury, no police reports, no witnesses, no fair trial. There is the internet.
Myself and my company take domestic abuse, and any kind of abuse for that matter, extremely serious. There is nothing okay with anyone assaulting anyone whether it is a man hitting a women, a women hitting a man, two people in a fight at a concert, etc. we do not condone this. There are millions of victims of domestic abuse and physical violence all over the world, most too scared to make a statement about it.
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.
If anyone has any further questions, they can contact me. Please do not post anything hateful on this thread towards either person. We are all human, let's prove it.
In the comments for Ziemer's Facebook post, one DeFonce supporter posted the below supposed screenshot of a since-deleted upload to Claxton's Tumblr, wherein she appears to admit to getting her black eye after getting hit in the face by a dog toy.
Moments later, DeFonce uploaded another post confirming that he would be resigning from his position at Third String.
In light of recent posts that have now gone a step further from just hurting my reputation and are now hurting the reputation of my good friend Mike Ziemer and his company Third String Productions, I have decided to step down from my position with them. This is not an admission of guilt or me giving up, this is me doing what I believe to be the right thing in keeping this from going any further. I have hired a lawyer and am currently working on a case against what I believe to be defamation of my character. I stand by my previous statements that while I may have been angry and I may have broken her phone, unintentionally, I did not hit her, slam her head on the counter, or abuse her in any way. It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but I will be 100% focused on making sure that justice is brought to this situation and my reputation is repaired. A lot of you might not take me seriously or make “defonced” jokes, but that doesn’t mean I am the type of person to ever physically harm anyone. I believe my friends and family know me well enough to back that up as well as the girls I’ve dated in the past. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, this is a very hard time for me.
At the moment, DeFonce's social channels have fallen silent. Meanwhile, after fielding questions on her Tumblr page about the matter for a few days, Claxton's page is now quiet as well. Ziemer is continuing to express concern on Facebook about a lack of due process, but is not answering phone calls.
Says Parade of Flesh's John Iskander on the matter: “[It's] overall sketchy.”
Indeed. And it seems like a sure bet that, in some fashion, the matter will be addressed at tonight's show at Dada.