On the past Monday, annual tech conference SXSW Interactive cancelled two of their panel discussions, namely "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games" and “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" due to "numerous threats of on-site violence. The situation has turned in to a huge mess as of late, so what exactly happened?
Here's the timeline of events:
August, 2015Caroline Sinders, researcher and game designer reported that three SXSW panel discussions were under attack from "downvote brigades"."As a member of one of the three SXSW panels against which Gamergate has formed a voting “brigade.“ The campaign is an ongoing one, designed to thwart “social justice warriors”—a Gamergate name created for people who are publicly and vocally anti-Gamergate— from giving talks, interacting with one another online, participating in contests, or even organizing social meet-ups."23 October, 2015SXSW adds a GamerGate panel, and though the event, "SavePoint - A Discussion on the Gaming Community," is not described on the schedule as explicitly GamerGate-affiliated, several of its panelists have been involved in the hashtag movement.
This garnered enormous controversy, and many people have expressed concern and disgust about the panel on Twitter and some have even vowed not to attend the festival.
Writer Sydette Harry called the decision “bullshit,” tweeting that she was “utterly and canonically tired of EVERYONE” because of SXSW’s decision to allow a GamerGate panel.26 October, 2015SXSW cancels the "SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" and "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games" panels, due to "numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming," causing and even bigger meltdown and doubts regarding the conference's efficiency and integrity.
Read SXSW's full statement here[www.sxsw.com].27 October, 2015BuzzFeed pulls out from SXSW over the canceled gaming panels, citing that the company was “disturbed to learn” about the cancellations, and will cancel their withdrawal only if SXSW organizer Hugh Forrest reinstated the sessions.
Read Buzzfeed's full statement here[www.buzzfeed.com].
Vox Media then follows suit, releasing a statement that they are reevaluating its participation in the SXSW conference. They stated that the company will not be participating in this year's conference unless changes are made regarding the panels.
Read Vox Media's full statement here[www.theverge.com].
Former NFL kicker and online activist Chris Kluwe has also weighed in on his opinions, without a trace of holding back whatsoever. You can read his statement here[the-cauldron.com].
Thus, SXSW has also acknowledge the criticism it has garnered.We want the SXSW community to know that we hear and understand your frustrations and concerns about the recent cancellation of two SXSW Gaming panels.
The safety of our speakers, participants and staff is always our top priority. We are working with local law enforcement to assess the various threats received regarding these sessions.
Moving forward, we are also evaluating several programming solutions as we continue to plan for an event that will be safe, meaningful and enjoyable for all involved.
We will provide more information soon.
You can read more of the controversy here.
Opium Pulses will update important events regarding the SXSW Gamergate Meltdown regularly. What do you think about this fiasco? Do let us know in the comments below, we would love to know your opinions.