- March 11, 2016

SXSW Steps Up Security to Guard Online Harassment Summit from Real Life Trolls

In one of the most controversial moments in SXSW history, SXSW Interactive Director Hugh Forrest and SXSWi cancelled two panels dealing with gaming and online harassment (specifically toward women and minorities) due to threats of onsite violence at the conference. The media and other Interactive panelists were not happy about this, and after a threatened boycott, Forrest issued an apology and reinstated the two panels with more efforts for security in place. That was five months ago.

Fast forward to today and Austin Business Journal reports that the two panels have now been extended into a day-long session. The Online Harassment Summit will be held tomorrow, March 12 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, with the SavePoint session scheduled for March 15. To ensure safety, additional security measures will be in place, including bag checks and an increased presence from APD.

“In hindsight, of course I wish we hadn’t cancelled the sessions. But in those two to three weeks of crisis communications, we learned a lot,” Forrest told ABJ. “We also learned how much passion there is about this topic and how many people feel strongly about it, that [harassment] threatens everything we all do online.”