The spread of the coronavirus is threatening South by Southwest, the annual tech, film and music conference in Austin, Texas, that begins next week.
The tech giant had been set to premiere three new Apple TV+ originals at the festival, including Spike Jonze’s documentary film “Beastie Boys Story,” and it also was scheduled to host a discussion of the company's “Little America” with docuseries creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Those have now been cancelled, according to Variety.
Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report also is pulling out of South by Southwest a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The streaming giant has canceled five film screenings and a panel for series "#BlackExcellence."
Austin public health officials said Wednesday the festival would go on as planned. There have been about 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas, and nearly 160 in the United States.
"It's important for us to remember at this stage that we're actively evaluating mass gatherings on a daily basis," said Mark Escott, the interim medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health. "Right now there's no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer. We're constantly monitoring that situation."
TikTok, the video app, also has backed out of the festival, saying it would explore "alternative ways" to present its planned SXSW content to audiences, CNN reported.
"While we think the risk is relatively low, we are erring on the side of caution," a TikTok spokesperson told CNN Business earlier this week.