Apple and Netflix are reportedly no longer participating in the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival as concerns escalate around the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the U.S.
The news, reported in various industry trades, comes nearly a week before the event is scheduled to kick off in Austin. The media giants are the most recent to pull the plug following a string of high-profile cancellations from Amazon Studios, Facebook and Twitter.
Apple was set to bring a number of titles to SXSW, including the world premieres of the Spike Jonze-directed documentary Beastie Boys Story and the docuseries Home, directed by Doug Pray and Scott Weintrob. The company was also planning to screen Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ Sundance-winning documentary Boys State.
Netflix, meanwhile, was bringing world-premiering documentaries including Chris Bolan’s A Secret Love; Estevan Oriol’s LA Originals; and Donick Cary’s Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, in addition to a screening of Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch’s Mucho Mucho Amor.
SXSW, running March 13 to 22, has yet to update a statement released Monday (March 2) that it was “working closely on a daily basis with local, state and federal agencies to plan for a safe event.”
“As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority,” the organization continued.
A Change.org petition calling on SXSW, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Austin Public Health and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to cancel the event has reached just under 50,000 signatures as of Thursday (March 5).