This article has been updated.
Dalton Domino is one of the buzziest names in the Texas country scene. His sophomore album Corners won praise from both fans and critics earlier this year. We named him as a rising Texas country artist you need to know and included single "July" on our list of 2017's best songs so far. Additionally, Rolling Stone Country listed him as one of their 10 new country artists to know in May.
But recent interactions on Domino's Facebook page paint a much different picture of the talented newcomer.
On Oct. 27, Facebook user Christy posted on Domino's wall (Christy asked that her last name not be used to avoid more harassment). In her comment, Christy chastised Domino for smoking on stage at Hoot's Pub in Amarillo, a non-smoking venue. "If you prefer to play in a smoking environment, do not agree to play in a non-smoking environment," Christy said in concluding her post. "You are not exempt simply because you are the band."
Christy tells Wide Open Country that she and her husband see live music as often as they can. They chose to go to Hoot's that night because the venue was promoting their recent change to a non-smoking venue, her friend was in the mood to dance and the headliner was a favorite of hers. "[My friend] has asthma and smoke is out of the question for her," Christy says.
When Domino lit up despite the new rule, they left and got their money back at the door. Christy voiced her disappointment on his Facebook page that night. The post sat unnoticed until Domino responded a week later.
"Go fuck yourself," Domino wrote. That comment set off a chain reaction of hundreds of comments and shares.
Soon, hundreds of Domino's fans chimed in. Some simply laughed or applauded Domino. "It's a mans [sic] world ya sheep," one said. "Way to go Dalton," another said. Many of them directed insults at Christy on the thread.
Domino didn't let up, either. When Christy or a few others who agreed with her responded, Domino doubled down. "Then don't go to the shows you stupid piece of shit," he said to one person. Other comments from Domino included:
"Go fuck yourself you baby back bitch."
"You're still a fuck face."
"You're an illiterate inbred pussy."
"Please god stop reproducing."
"Trying to weed out dipshits like you at my shows."
When Domino told Christy, "You're not my goddamn mom," she responded, "Thank God. My son is a very respectable young man with a highly intelligent vocabulary."
"Sounds like a giant pussy," Domino retorted. Each response earned dozens, if not hundreds of likes, loves and laughs, continually spurring additional harassment. And it didn't just stay in the thread.
Several people sought out Christy's personal page and began threatening her directly through Facebook messenger. "Worst of all, I received personal threats," Christy says. "What you saw in the thread was only part of it. What I received in my personal message inbox was astonishing. One person even stated, 'Now we know what you look like.'" Christy says she stopped communicating when the threats started coming in.
Domino deleted the thread on Nov. 7 after Wide Open Country reached out to his management for comment and clarification. "I'm not a role model and I am not asking to be one," Domino says via email. "I write songs. I'm not running for senate." After this article went to publish, Domino posted a video response of himself holding up his middle finger while making a masturbatory gesture.
But just because the thread is gone doesn't mean the conversation is. Britney Kiser and Whitney Settles, who run a shop called Our Stuff in Levelland, Texas went so far as to make a meme shirt out of the thread. The gray shirt features large lettering that reads "#LETDALTONSMOKE" with "GO F*CK YOURSELF" under it.
Domino shared the shirt, eventually posting it again with information to buy it, noting that all of the proceeds would go to Dallas-area non-profit United Through HOPE. Domino did some previous work to benefit the charity through an organization called Paper Cloud Apparel.
United Through HOPE's Facebook page originally expressed gratitude for the notion. But when executive director Dr. Laurie Harrier learned more about the genesis of the shirt, she clarified her position.
"We at United Through HOPE do not tolerate any form of cyberbullying or name calling," Dr. Harrier tells Wide Open Country. "We practice lessons on face-to-face handling our problems with the actual party and in doing that practice using language that is not derogatory or offensive in nature. We also practice working through huge mistakes we make and owning up for our mistake rather than covering it up or ignoring it."
Dr. Harrier says the charity board is currently determining how to handle a donation from the proceeds of the t-shirts, should one be made. "We do not in any way want anyone to think we accept name calling or rude behavior to be acceptable," she says.