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Dozens Of Artists Withdraw From SXSW Over Army Sponsorship

Dozens of performers and speakers have canceled their appearances at the South By Southwest festival, in protest of the Army’s sponsorship of the event amid the Israel-Hamas war.

According to a report by Time, more than 70 bands, singers and panelists have already canceled their appearances, objecting to the Army’s sponsorship of the event, saying it provides weapons for the war.

The Austin for Palestine Coalition called for a protest and boycott of SXSW in February because of its ties to the Army and private defense contractor Raytheon (RTX). The U.S. Army is one of six “super sponsors” of the event, and RTX has supplied weapons and defense systems to the Israeli military.

“Thanks for the support and solidarity re dropping out of SXSW. There’s always a right thing to do and it’s almost never as complicated as the establishment wants you to believe, and sometimes it costs you a dream, but a dream is a dream and not a life,” the artist Okay Shalom wrote on an instagram post. “Palestinians deserve to dream. They deserve to live.”

Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the numerous artists in a post on X/Twitter saying, “Bye. Don’t come back. Austin remains the HQ for the Army Futures Command. San Antonio is Military City USA. We are proud of the U.S. military in Texas. If you don’t like it, don’t come here.”

SXSW, on its part, said in a statement that it “does not agree with Governor Abbott” and that it “welcomes diverse viewpoints,” supporting artists who chose to cancel their appearance in the event.

“We have and will continue to support human rights for all. The situation in the Middle East is tragic, and it illuminates the heightened importance of standing together against injustice,” the statement concluded.

To see the full list of protesting artists, check out Time’s list.

Written by RA News staff.


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