SWSX considered discussing or lamenting #GamerGate
"By approving the panels in question, SXSW assumed responsibility for related controversies and security threats," a statement by Vox Media said. "By canceling the panels, they have cut off an opportunity to discuss a real and urgent problem in media and technology today."
The moves by BuzzFeed and Vox echoed a growing outcry on social media over the conference's decision.
The gathering has long aspired to be a forum for topical discussions about tech, rather than dry corporate speeches, and the two events that it canceled were sure to stir up passions. For the past two years, harassment in gaming culture has become a high-profile topic, after several female game designers and critics were targeted for criticizing sexism in games.
People hostile to their views rallied around the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, accusing them and journalists who wrote sympathetically about them of being politically correct "social justice warriors."
Some of the people who have been targeted by GamerGate supporters in the past applauded the moves by BuzzFeed and Vox to boycott SXSW. But they said the conference should reinstate only the online-harassment panel, not the other, which they viewed as a forum for GamerGate supporters.