Ironically, harassment cancels two SXSW harassment in gaming panels, that were meant to address the issues surrounding popular issues, such as cyber bullying and the unfortunate bits of sexism and racism in the gaming community.
- The SXSW event in March 2016 canceled two panels, a week after announcing them
- This was due to several threats of “on-site” violence
- Both panels were deemed as “focused around the GamerGate controversy”
- Panelists stated that their sessions would’ve addressed the issue in general, not that particular topic
The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival has recently stated that it was cancelling two panels due to the worrying amount of threats of violence. Only a week after their announcement, they decided to cave in after receiving calls, e-mails, and tweets that threatened to others resorting to violent behavior. For the safety and “integrity” of their event, the organizers chose to remove two panels in particular.
The festival had hoped to introduce two discussions which were meant as a way to share ideas about frequent problems. “SavePoint: A Discussion on The Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games” would’ve addressed those issues. However, it seems that someone out there, did not agree to the two panels existing. The organizers were harassed until the point where it was safer to cancel.
According to one of the panelists, who would’ve been part of “Level Up”, they received an email announcing the removal of their discussions. SXSW has stated that they cancelled the sessions that were “focused on the GamerGate controversy”. The panelist, in turn, has stated that their panel was not GamerGate related. In fact, they hadn’t mentioned the name in their description.
GamerGate is movement mostly dominated and led by male gamers. While their initial description claims a fight for ethical gaming, their purpose is more known for online harassment of female gamers or minorities. The GamerGate controversy began in 2014, with one camp avidly opposed to creating social consciousness in the gaming community.
Those falling on that side of the argument feel an imposition of progressivism and political correctitude in gaming. On the other hand, much of their activity happens on forums such as 4chan and 8chan, with a more pronounced campaigns against female gamers and minorities in the community.
According to SXSW, their decision to cancel the two panels regarding said online harassment was for the sake of safety among participants. The situation had grown “wildly out of control”, and they found that the sanctity of their event was compromised. If participants no longer felt safe to share their views and ideas, then the festival could not accomplish its goals.
Furthermore, they did not wish to pour more fuel on the fire between the two opposing online camps.
However, those heading the two panels stated that their sessions would’ve not been focused on GamerGate at all, and instead would’ve addressed the general issue. They wished to discuss the “wider problem and solutions”. Alas, it will not be happening.
Image source: forbes.com