South by Southwest Reverses Course, Schedules Harassment Summit

South by Southwest Interactive, the annual festival in Austin, Texas, will hold a day-long summit on the subject of online harassment in March after taking criticism for canceling sessions about sexism and the video-game industry.

The summit will be held March 12 at SXSW 2016, the organizers said Friday in a statement on the festival’s website. It will also be streamed live for free.

The annual music, film and interactive-entertainment festival came under fire from Vox Media and Buzzfeed for canceling two sessions about how women are treated in the video-game industry. Both companies said they wouldn’t participate in next year’s event.

“Earlier this week we made a mistake,” SXSW said in the statement. “By canceling two sessions we sent an unintended message that SXSW not only tolerates online harassment but condones it, and for that we are truly sorry.”

The summit will include Randi Harper, Katherine Cross and Caroline Sinders from “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games,” as well as Perry Jones, Mercedes Carrera, and Lynn Walsh from “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community,” the two previously canceled panels.

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