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Organizers of the South by Southwest conference have canceled two panels meant to spark a discussion about harassment and threats of violence in the gaming community after repeated instances of harassment and threats of violence.

The two panel discussions at the Austin-based arts and interactive media festival, “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games,” were intended to address harassment within the video game community, which often targets women.

In a blog post Monday night, festival director Hugh Forrest said, “in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.” Forrest said “Maintaining civil and respectful dialogue” at the festival “is more important than any particular session.”

Twitter was quick to take the offensive, calling out Forrest for, they said, bowing to bullies rather than standing up for the civility he said he wanted to foster.

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