SXSW announces it will add Online Harassment Summit to March event schedule
After announcing two panels on harassment in the game development community the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference started getting, well, harassed. As a result, SXSW decided to cancel the panels which brought a torrent of criticism, and threats from BussFeed and Vox Media that they would pull out.
Today, in a blog post, SXSW announced that it would add a day-long “summit” on harassment.
“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,” wrote Hugh Forrest on the SXSW website.
“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.”
So, SXSW has added a session called the Online Harassment Summit for Saturday, March 12.
To the organization’s credit, they have lined up a large group of speakers, leading one to believe that they decided early on that this was the right approach and began lining up people to participate.
One of the speakers will be Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator, and a losing candidate for governor.
Now, I guess, we will see what the reaction is from those that objected to the panels the first time around, and how SXSW reactions this time.