In the face of criticism from the artist community over language in their contract for international acts, SXSW organizers have changed their tune, issuing a detailed statement and set of solutions on Tuesday.
SXSW became embroiled in controversy last week after indie artists Told Slant announced they were canceling their SXSW performance due to controversial contract language that suggested appeared to threaten international acts with possible deportation if they perform at concerts that aren't part of the official schedule for the festival, or otherwise act in a way that is detrimental to the artist's official showcase
On Tuesday, SXSW announced that they were amending their contracts to "remove the option of notifying immigration authorities in situations where a foreign artist might 'adversely affect the viability of [the] artist’s official showcase,'" such as playing unofficial shows during the festival.
SXSW organizers went on to affirm that they only cooperate with immigrations officials when required to by law.
"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," the statement said.
The full statement:
SXSW STATEMENT REGARDING COMMITMENT TO OUR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS
March 7, 2017
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.
via Celebrity Access