- Ketner Group
Organizers of the South by Southwest festival are pondering an all-day event that focuses on online harassment after canceling two panels on Gamergate movement that looked to address the movement, citing security concerns.
SXSW on Tuesday pulled two panels, one of which was affiliated with the Gamergate movement. The other, which included programmer Randi Harper, focused not specifically on Gamergate harassment in video games but on the online community in general. According to Re/code, Harper’s panel has been reinstated (though Harper clarified that none of the panelists had agreed to appear).
Gamegate is an online movement that started as a protest against alleged ethical violations in video game journalism, highlighting the close relationship between journalists and those within the industry. The movement, however, soon became characterized by misogyny and targeted various women, such as video game developer Zoe Quinn, relentlessly.
Two high-profile media outlets – BuzzFeed and Vox Media, which owns The Verge and Polygon – threatened to pull out of SXSW because of the cancellations. By silencing those who want to speak out about harassment, the companies argue, the event is letting the perpetrators win.
Security is among the bigger concerns surrounding an event focused on online harassment, as many of those who have been targeted by the Gamergate movement have received death threats. Hugh Forrest, the director of SXSW, wrote on the event’s website that organizers were “working with local law enforcement to assess the various threats received regarding these sessions.”