BuzzFeed to Withdraw From SXSW Over Canceled Anti-Harassment Gaming Panels

Tasneem Nashrulla, reporting for BuzzFeed:

BuzzFeed plans to withdraw its participation from the South by Southwest Interactive festival after organizers decided to cancel two gaming and online harassment panels after receiving “numerous threats of on-site violence.”

In a letter to the organizers of the Austin-based media festival sent Tuesday, President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures Ze Frank, BuzzFeed Publisher Dao Nguyen, and BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith wrote, “We will feel compelled to withdraw … if the conference can’t find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day — to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment.”

I sympathize with SXSW — these threats have to be taken seriously. But canceling anti-harassment panels because of harassing threats — that’s just wrong.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015