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Calls for SXSW festival to cancel as Apple pulls out due to coronavirus

Apple has become the latest company to pull its involvement in South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas amid concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus.

The Silicon Valley technology giant was scheduled to premier three Apple TV Plus originals at the film festival, including Spike Jonze’s documentary film ‘Beastie Boys Story.’

The company was also scheduled to host a discussion of Apple’s ‘Little America’ with docuseries creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, which have now been cancelled.

The 2020 edition of the technology and entertainment festival has suffered several other big name losses to its roster, including Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Mashable and Intel.

The festival maintains it will go ahead on March 13-22, with officials for the city of Austin stating: “Right now there’s no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer.”

Mark Escott, the interim medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health said a press conference per CNN: “We’re constantly monitoring that situation. And if there’s any evidence that our community will be safer by closing down public events, we’ll do that.”

However, there has been a public push to have the festival cancelled because of fears surrounding the spread of coronavirus, as a Change.org petition has reached more than 45,000 signatures.

Other events that have been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak include MipTV, Google I/O, GDC, Facebook’s F8 and Mobile World Congress.

Image: Daniel X. O’Neil