Apple nixes Apple TV+ content debut at SXSW over coronavirus concerns

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Apple drops out of this month's South by Southwest film and technology festival over coronavirus concerns.
Photo: Apple

Apple has decided not to attend this month’s South by Southwest music, film and technology festival in Austin, Texas, citing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

Apple previously planned to premiere three new Apple TV+ original shows at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. The slate reportedly included Spike Jonze’s documentary Beastie Boys Story, the docuseries Home and animated comedy Central Park. Apple also planned to host a discussion of its well-reviewed show about U.S. immigrants, Little America.

Variety and Bloomberg reported Apple’s decision to pull out of SXSW on Wednesday, citing various sources. Apple joins Amazon, Facebook and Twitter in dropping out of the Texas conference. SXSW organizers reiterated multiple times over the past few weeks that they would not cancel the massive convention, which began in 1987. SXSW 2020 is scheduled to take place March 13 to 22.

Calls for SXSW to cancel the conference have increased over the past week, with a Change.org petition with more than 45,000 signatures urging organizers to scrub show plans for this year.

SXSW 2020: Companies pull out but the show must go on

On Monday, SXSW said it “is 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, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.”

A number of other events have been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, including the Adobe Summit, Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress and the Microsoft MVP Global Summit. Google said Tuesday it would transform Google I/O 2020 into an online, streaming-only event.