SXSW cancels GamerGate panels

Organisers of the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival have cancelled two panels after allegations of “numerous threats of on-site violence,” Ars Technica reported.

The affected panels were “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”.

SXSW did not say whether the threats were linked to one or both panels.

In a blog post announcing the cancellation of the two panels, SXSW Interactive said although it prides itself on being a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas, the dialogue must be kept civil and respectful.

“If people can not agree, disagree, and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised,” said SXSW Interactive.

Links to GamerGate

While neither of the two panels explicitly mentioned the GamerGate controversy, both are linked to movements on the two sides of the debate.

GamerGate erupted over allegations that video game developer Zoë Quinn had been in a sexual relationship with a game journalist, while in a relationship with another man, and received positive coverage for Depression Quest from that journalist.

The allegations were refuted, but not before two camps formed in the gaming community: one for ethical game journalism (pro-GamerGate), the other for greater diversity in video games (pro-social justice).

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SXSW cancels GamerGate panels