Digital Transformation

SXSW admits cancelling gaming harassment sessions was 'not an appropriate response'

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By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

October 31, 2015 | 3 min read

SXSW has admitted that removing two gaming panels from its 2016 line up following threats of on-site violence being issued towards the festival was "not an appropriate response".

In a blog post issued yesterday (30 October) SXSW said that it will now run a day-long Online Harassment Summit on 12 March during the festival next year where it will examine the topic.

"Earlier this week we made a mistake. By cancelling two sessions we sent an unintended message that SXSW not only tolerates online harassment but condones it, and for that we are truly sorry," read the post.

"The resulting feedback from the individuals involved and the community-at-large resonated loud and clear. While we made the decision in the interest of safety for all of our attendees, cancelling sessions was not an appropriate response. We have been working with the authorities and security experts to determine the best way to proceed."

Confirmed speakers at the summit include Monika Bickert, head of product policy at Facebook, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director, Anti-Defamation League and Wendy Davis, Women's Rights advocate and former Texas State Senator.

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Earlier this week Buzzfeed and Vox threatened to boycott the festival in response to the cancellation of the two panels, which were originally created to discuss harassment against women and other groups in gaming communities.

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