Responding to outcry, SXSW clarifies policies around international talent

With controversial moves to tighten immigration in the works, visitors from abroad and U.S. citizens alike are on edge about international travel. For the organizers of South by Southwest, that climate gave rise to a public outcry over controversial language in its artist contracts.

In light of the ensuing backlash among attendees and performers, SXSW has issued a statement asserting its opposition toward the Trump administration’s actions around immigration. The letter notes that SXSW will change language in its performer contracts to remove mentions of making contact with immigration officials in changes that will go into effect in 2018.

“With the announcement of President Trump’s latest Travel Ban, SXSW would like to reaffirm its public opposition to these executive orders and provide ongoing support to the artists traveling from foreign countries to our event,” the statement reads.

Previously, in an interview with the Austin Chronicle, SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson dismissed concerns over what many interpreted as a new, politically motivated policy, noting that the language has actually been in place for at least five years.

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