It’s been a rough few days for the South By South West (SXSW) music and tech festival.
Earlier this week, SXSW’s organisers came under fire for cancelling two panel discussions about online harassment after receiving “threats of violence”. In weird twist of events, the two panels appeared to addressing their topic from opposite ends of the spectrum; the first looked at overcoming online harassment, while the other, according to Wired, was stacked with panelists who were resolutely pro-GamerGate. internet
GamerGate, in case you haven’t heard of it, is an internet movement and depending on who you talk to, it’s either a consumer revolt against corruption in the gaming media or a collection of online trolls who spent the greater part of the last year harassing women and feminists involved with games and technology.
Concern was raised that giving the GamerGate movement a platform at SXSW would appear to make the concerns of harassers equally as important as those who want to curb online harassment. While this was happening SXSW was inundated with harassment about hosting a panel discussing how to curb online harassment and as a result pulled both panels.
Since pulling the panels however, SXSW has come out saying that it was considering hosting a full day event discussing harassment. Many, believe this comes as a result of Buzzfeed and Vox Media threatening to pull out of the event if the topics were not discussed. According to a report from The Guardian neither Buzzfeed nor Vox Media have confirmed that they will be attending the planned day long discussion.
An announcement is expected to be made before the end of the week regarding the new all day event but how it will run and how harassment will be addressed remains to be seen.[Source – Wired] [Image CC by 2.0 – Mr.TinDC]