Things became violent in a hurry at Brownstone’s Restaurant on July 20th, and customers were horrified with fear when a man identified as William Vaston Fairley stormed from the bar where he was sitting to confront Thomas Jackson over lyrics in the song Jackson was singing. The song written by Jackson was about Hattiesburg and had a verse critical of Mayor Johnny Dupree and his longtime friend, pastor, and TV Evangelist Kenny Fairley. Fairley’s son, a convicted felon, charged Jackson and said, “What’s your name boy?” Fairley then snatched Jackson’s hat off his head, threw it across the room, and shouted, “You’re gonna sing a different song” to which Jackson replied, “”I’ll sing whatever you want. What song do you want me to sing.” Fairley responded, “Any song but that one. – You better say YES SIR, BOY. Say it again!”
Fairley then gripped the microphone pole and snatched it from Jackson where it hit the ground. Onlookers were horrified at this thug like behavior. As Fairley’s violent tantrum escalated into a profane laden tirade, Brownstone’s manager ran upstairs to diffuse the situation and attempted to get Fairley out of the bar. Fairley protested about the song and the manager responded, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I have to get you out of here!” Fairley looked at the horrified onlookers and said, “Fuck you, fuck all of you.” Fairley then walked over to Jackson’s hat, which he (Vaston) had previously thrown on the floor, pickled it up, and left the building with the property. When the manager returned, Jackson said, “What about my hat?” So, the manager went outside to retrieve Jackson’s property.
During the profane laden tirade, a witness, who asked that his name not be published, called 911 to report the violent episode and told the
“He (William Vaston Fairley) looked at me and said ‘Fuck you, fuck all of you.’ I took ‘you’ to mean ‘white people’ considering the fact that he’d made the singer say ‘Yes sir’ to him, and followed up with, ‘You better say YES SIR, BOY. Say it again.’ If he’s representative of what his dad does (Pastor Kenny Fairley) , I don’t even want to know what their ideas about Christianity are (and I’d prefer if a single church didn’t have all that power over Hattiesburg). Vaston reflected awfully on DuPree and his father’s church. I went to that church once and, after about 4 ‘offering’ calls in which the visiting preaching promised people would have Cadillacs in their driveways if they gave a little more, I left and never went back. Sickening how they were preying on the poor. The reason I made the phone call is that, with the kind of rage Vaston was in that night, I thought he might come back up with a gun. Luckily, he just drove off in his nice Escalade, but I’d already called the police. I didn’t even know who he was at the time I called. I just knew he was crazy.”
The victim, Thomas Jackson, told the Hattiesburg Patriot, “He broke my microphone and stole my hat. – He seemed pretty violent- I never said ‘yes sir’ to that guy.” According to witnesses on the scene police took 10-15 minutes to respond, and no arrest has been made in the attack.