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SXSW: Apple and Netflix pull out over coronavirus outbreak

Apple and Netflix have reportedly pulled out of this month’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, because of concerns over COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

With Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter earlier this week canceling their attendance, and with COVID-19 continuing to spread, this year’s event looks to be in jeopardy despite the organizer’s current insistence that the nine-day event will still start as planned on March 13.

Apple insider Mark Gurman wrote in a piece for Bloomberg that in light of the current situation regarding COVID-19, the tech giant had decided to withdraw from the film and technology festival.

The company had been planning to showcase three new Apple TV+ projects at the festival, among them a Beastie Boys documentary by Spike Jonze, as well as two series — Central Park by Loren Bouchard, and Home from Doug Pray and Matt Weaver.

Apple is yet to make a public announcement regarding its attendance at SXSW. We’ve reached out to the company to find out more and will update this piece when we hear back.

Netflix has also pulled out of SXSW, according to Variety, which cited sources familiar with the matter.

The streaming giant had plans to show a feature film called Uncorked, along with four documentaries: A Secret Love, L.A. Originals, Mucho Mucho Amor, Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.

It had also planned a panel for Black Excellence, its upcoming single-camera sitcom created by Kenya Barris.

Mark Escott, the interim medical director and health authority for Austin Public Health, told CNN on Wednesday that while his team is constantly monitoring the situation, “there’s no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer.” That’s all very well, but if more attendees pull out, there won’t be a show to go to.

We’ve reached out to the organizers of SXSW to find out its latest take.

At the time of writing, data gathered by the Maryland-based Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University show there have been 159 reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 95,000 confirmed globally, most of them in China. Nearly 3,300 people have died —– 11 in the U.S. — as a result of complications caused by the virus. Check the World Health Organization‘s website for more information.

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Trevor Mogg
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