Following last week’s deportation controversy, SXSW unveils new plan and releases statement “regarding [their] commitment to international artists.”
SXSW came under fire last week after Brooklyn indie pop outfit Told Slant canceled their performances at the festival due to a contract clause that specified SXSW would notify authorities if a performer was in America illegally.
Amid the controversy, SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson noted that the clause had been a part of the paperwork long before this year and says it was “a safeguard to provide SXSW with a means to respond to an act that does something truly egregious, such as disobeying our rules about pyrotechnics on stage, starting a brawl in a club, or causing serious safety issues.” He assured people that they are committed to fighting Trump’s travel ban.
Now, the festival has released a new statement about how their contracts will look in 2018 and beyond: “In this political climate, especially as it relates to immigration, we recognize the heightened importance of standing together against injustice.”
Read the full statement below.
“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.
“To reinforce that stance, we would like to address the concerns regarding the language in our artist invitation letter and performance agreement for the SXSW Music Festival.
“SXSW will do the following:
- We will change the language in our artist invitation letter and performance agreement for 2018 and beyond.
- We will remove the option of notifying immigration authorities in situations where a foreign artist might “adversely affect the viability of Artist’s official showcase.”
*Safety is a primary concern for SXSW, and we report any safety issues to local authorities. It is not SXSW’s duty or authority to escalate a matter beyond local authorities.
“In this political climate, especially as it relates to immigration, we recognize the heightened importance of standing together against injustice.
“While SXSW works to be in compliance with U.S. immigration law, it is important to know that:
- SXSW has not, does not, and will not, disclose an artist’s immigration status, except when required by law.
- SXSW does not have the power to deport anyone.
- There are no “deportation clauses” in our current performance agreements. There will be no “deportation clauses” in our future participant agreements.
- SXSW does not “collude with” any immigration agencies including ICE, CBP or USCIS to deport anyone.
- Each year SXSW coordinates with hundreds of international acts coming to SXSW to try and mitigate issues at U.S. ports of entry. This year we are working to build a coalition of attorneys to assist any who face problems upon arrival in the States.
- In the 31 years of SXSW’s existence, we have never reported any artist or participant to any immigration agency.
“We would like to again apologize for the language in our agreements. We care deeply about the community we serve, and our event is a welcome and safe space for all people.”