December 17, 2018
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SXSW restores talks on gaming harassment once canceled over threats

AUSTIN, Texas — The South by Southwest tech meeting said on Friday it made a mistake when it canceled sessions on video gaming culture, including one on harassment, after facing criticism of dodging its duty by dropping talks on an issue engulfing gaming culture.

The organizers of South by Southwest Interactive, a major annual meeting of the tech industry held in Austin, Texas, said they have now added a day-long summit on the topic and expanded the reach and participation of its originally planned sessions.

This week, it canceled the two sessions for its 2016 meeting in March after receiving threats of violent attack.

“By canceling two sessions we sent an unintended message that SXSW not only tolerates online harassment but condones it, and for that we are truly sorry,” Hugh Forrest, the SXSW Interactive director, said in a blog post.

The industry has become embroiled in a movement that has come to be known as “Gamergate” in which self-described video game fans have lashed back aggressively online at criticism about sexism in gaming culture. The movement came into general public view more than a year ago.

Two major media firms, Vox Media and BuzzFeed, threatened to pull out of South by Southwest after organizers dropped the sessions titled “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games,” in which harassment victims were lined up to speak.


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