Four things people protested against at SXSW

Digiday is at SXSW giving you the latest industry news out of the festival at Austin, Texas. More from the series →


With each year that goes by, it seems SXSW gets just a little more corporate. All the more to rally against! Here are four things people are protesting in Bat City this year.

Brands not paying bands to play at events
McDonald’s felt the heat of the fryer when it asked a musical duo, Ex Cop, to play at its event in Austin for exposure (i.e., “unpaid”). Ex Cop fought back with a Facebook post about the offer: “It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials,” the duo wrote.

McDonald’s backtracked a few days later, saying they would pay performers after all. But there’s plenty of strong pro-musician sentiment.

A group of University of Texas at Austin students, killing time before Spring Break apparently, staged a protest outside the Convention Center Saturday against artificial intelligence. 

“Brand Israel” events
SXSW is hosting a series of sessions this year from Israel, such as “Israel: Small country, Big ideas,” and some activists contend that this is an implicit endorsement of Israeli actions in Gaza.

We are protesting at #SXSW2015 @US_Campaign @jvplive #jvp2015 #NoHipsterApartheid

An activist group called “Blood Stained Men and Their Friends” launched an anti-circumcision protest at SXSW Saturday, rallying against what they’re calling “forced infant circumcision.”

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