Panels addressing online harrassment at this year’s Austin, TX festival have been cancelled due to threats of violence


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The famed SXSW conference is in hot water this week after the festival’s organizers decided to cancel panel discussions that aim towards ending harrassment and online threats towards female gamers and those who support them.

The panels that have been nixed were to dicuss both sides of the issue with GamerGate, a movement that sees female gamers as disrupting the traditionally male gaming industry. Claims have been made that physical threats as serious as rape are made towards female gamers on social media outlets such as Twitter. Those who are supportive of the GamerGate movement also say that they have received similar threats from those who oppose GamerGate.

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Gaming critic Katherine Cross, who was actually scheduled to appear on one of the panels, says that the cancellation send the message “that being a woman who addresses controversial topics in public is a liability — even at a conference that prides itself on engaged debate and cutting-edge ideas.”

GamerGate has successfully silenced vocal women in the past. Feminist media critic and GamerGate target Anita Sarkeesian pulled out of a speech at Utah State University after the school received threats of “the deadliest school shooting in American history.”

Media outlets like Buzzfeed and Vox have already jumped ship in covering SXSW.

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)