Arthur Chu has a long post up explaining what happened at SXSW.
So in August this year, Shireen Mitchell from Digital Sistas and Brianna Wu from Giant Spacekat told me they’d done a successful panel about trying to improve online culture at BlogHer 2015, and they were thinking of expanding the panel for a larger audience at SXSW 2016.
They asked if I’d be willing to lend my voice to the panel, as a male ally. I said absolutely, already knowing Brianna and being an admirer of Shireen’s work. Shireen put together a proposal and sent it to SXSW and we waited for approval. […]
Once SXSW’s “PanelPicker” website went live, three panels got targeted by r/KotakuInAction, a subreddit that serves as a primary GamerGate discussion forum—ours, a panel called “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment In Games,” and a panel about VR technology that was apparently targeted simply because Brianna Wu was on it. […]
I waited until I started seeing links to Encyclopedia Dramatica and Lolcow Wiki, sites that more or less exist to spread gossip and libel about Internet personalities. I asked that a link to a hit piece alleging over-the-top and incredibly hurtful things about a panelist—that she was a drug addict, that she’d sold her child—be removed. I asked that a link to a hit piece saying I’d called in a bomb threat be removed. I asked that a link outing the birth name of a trans person who wasn’t even on any of the panels be removed.
I was ignored.
Be sure to keep reading for the surprise pro-GamerGate panel, which was offered extra security denied to the other panels. The entire affair has dominated media coverage of the entire event, and led to some media organizations withdrawing in protest.
Owners of the digital news outlets Buzzfeed, The Verge and Curbed pulled out of South by Southwest Interactive to protest the festival’s decision to call off panels on video-game culture and sexual harassment following threats of violence.
“By canceling the panels, they have cut off an opportunity to discuss a real and urgent problem in media and technology today,” Vox Media Inc., which runs The Verge and Curbed, said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement.
If the organizers of SXSW had dealt with the mess instead of trying to sweep it away, they could have kept it from growing.
[2015-10-29]: Another of the panelists has spoken up. What’s fascinating is that nothing in the description of the panel said it dealt with GamerGate; when they heard it dealt with online harassment, GamerGaters automatically assumed it was about them.
“Ethics in journalism,” eh?