Vox Media, The Verge and Buzzfeed withdraw participation from the festival. 

SXSW, the massive interactive festival is known for its excellent and informative panels. Recently, the festival organizers cancelled two of their panels, namely, SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community and Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games. One of these panels explores the misogyny of harassment against women in the gaming community. Reasons for the cancellation of these panels are cited as “threats of violence” the organizers received. For the safety of the speakers and panel members, SXSW decided to cancel the panels altogether.

Due to this decision, however, big media companies like The Verge, its parent company Vox Media and Buzzfeed have withdrawn from the event, unless SXSW reconsiders its decision.

Here is what Buzzfeed said in a letter to SXSW:

“Digital harassment of activists of all political stripes, journalists, and women in those fields or participating in virtually any other form of digital speech has emerged as an urgent challenge for the tech companies for whom your conference is an important forum. Those targets of harassment, who include our journalists, do important work in spite of these threats.”

Here’s Vox Media’s statement on the matter:

We have reached out to SXSW organizers and ask that they host a safe and open discussion of these issues, rather than avoid them. Vox Media will not be participating in this year’s festival unless its organizers take this issue seriously and take appropriate steps to correct. We will work to find an alternative forum for this conversation and invite others who feel the same to join us.”

The attendees of the festival on Twitter are not ecstatic about the festival’s decision either, and urge the organizers to take a stand.

Shortly after the backlash they received, SXSW sent out this tweet:


Stay tuned to Festival Sherpa for more news!