Mashable and Intel are the latest brands to pull out of SXSW
Mashable and Intel are the latest brands to pull out of SXSW due to mounting coronavirus concerns. Yet, the festival insists the show will go on.
Media company Mashable had plans to once again activate its annual Mashable House at the festival—2020 would have been its 11th consecutive year hosting its MashBash party to close out the first weekend. The tech, music and film festival in Austin, Texas is slated for March 13-22.
“We have decided to cancel our 2020 Mashable House and MashBash in Austin during SXSW, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak,” Eva Smith, senior VP of sales and marketing solutions of parent company Ziff Media Group, said in a statement. “With so much enthusiasm and engagement surrounding our event, canceling is a very tough call. However, the health and safety of our teams, partners and guests is, as always, our number one priority. We are actively developing new, exciting programs for our trusted partners, who share our commitment to educating consumers around sustainability.”
Smith could not be reached for further comment and Mashable declined to say whether it would be refunded by SXSW, noting that the company does not discuss “specific business details.”
Meanwhile, Intel confirmed it is also pulling out the festival. “After careful consideration, we have withdrawn from on-site activities at this year’s SXSW,” said an Intel spokesperson. “We are grateful to SXSW for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future events.”
News of Mashable and Intel canceling their SXSW plans follows Facebook and music-video-streaming company Vevo—the joint-venture video-hosting service backed by major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI—pulling out on Monday evening. On Sunday, Twitter also announced that it canceled its SXSW house and CEO Jack Dorsey would no longer attend for a prominent speaking slot that had been scheduled.
And yet, a SXSW spokesperson said on Tuesday the event will go ahead.
“SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state and federal agencies to plan for a safe event,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority.”
The spokesperson continued, “There is a lot about COVID-19 that is still unknown, but what we do know is that personal hygiene is of critical importance. We hope that people follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected. That’s our plan.”
On Monday, new names were added to the festival's list of speakers, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said she would partake in a talk with MSNBC host Joy Reid. Still, Austin officials are also being pressured to consider canceling SXSW as a change.org petition urging them to call it quits started picking up support. By Tuesday, it garnered more than 32,000 online signatures.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has been disrupting business and travel since January after an outbreak originated in China. The virus has so far claimed six lives in the U.S., and health officials expect it to spread further. The virus carries flu-like symptoms and is considered to have a fatality rate of around 2 percent.
Concerns around the spread of the disease has prompted many events to cancel, postpone or move their activities online, including Adobe Summit 2020; Dubai Lynx, the Middle East creative festival owned in part by Cannes Lions parent Ascential; and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.