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Could SXSW Face A Boycott in the Wake of New Texas Abortion Laws?

Last updated: September 3, 2021

With the cornerstone U.S. festival South By Southwest preparing for its live and in-person film, music, and interactive mega-showcase this coming Spring, there may be an unexpected roadblock in its path. AdAge reports that “advertising and media leaders, especially women and women of color, are calling for action against Texas’ new law that restricts women’s access to abortions. And some of them are suggesting brands withdraw from Texas-based events like SXSW, one of the marketing industry’s largest yearly gatherings slated for Austin in March.”

AdAge goes on to cite specific industry professionals considering major changes to their plans for the Austin festival. Lisa Braun Dubbels, owner of Catalyst Publicity and Promotion Group in Minneapolis, tweeted that her inbox was full on Thursday with clients asking about “canceling my promotional events in Texas.” She added: “If anyone has any experience/knowledge about pulling their PanelPicker from SXSW, [let me know].”

Among the others calling for a boycott is Laura Mignott, CEO of DFlash, a cultural communications and marketing agency. According to AdAge, “She has gone to SXSW for a decade and worked with major brands like Samsung on experiential installations, which are popular marketing projects at the festival. Mignott says she will advise brands to stay away, and focus on Cannes Lions in France and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.”

“We’ve made millions activating at SXSW,” Mignott said in an interview reported by AdAge.  “It used to be our biggest moneymaker. I have amazing friends in Austin and my heart breaks for them right now, because they’re living in this insane dystopia. I can’t tell my brand clients to activate there.”

SXSW is currently scheduled for March 11-20, 2022, in Austin, Texas.

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