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SXSW to remove deportation threats from artist contracts

By | Published on Wednesday 8 March 2017


SXSW will remove threats to report international artists to immigration authorities from future contracts, Billboard reports.

As previously reported, earlier this month New York band Told Slant cancelled their appearance at the festival in protest against the language of the contract. The document informs bands arriving from overseas on certain visas that playing unofficial shows at the event “may result in immediate deportation, revoked passport, or denied entry by US Customs Border Patrol at US points of entry”.

SXSW said that it was merely informing artists of legal obligations pertaining to their visas. The festival’s CEO Roland Swenson told the Austin Chronicle: “We’ve had these restrictions in the agreement for about five years and never had to enforce them. It’s intended for someone who does something really egregious like disobeying our rules for pyrotechnics, starts a brawl in a club, or kills somebody. You have to really fuck up for us to do this stuff”.

In its official statement at the time, SXSW did note that Donald Trump’s controversial attempted travel ban had made immigration a more sensitive topic, adding: “We understand that given the current political climate surrounding immigration, the language that was published seems strong”.

Although it added that it “would be remiss not to warn our participating acts of the likely repercussions” of breaking US immigration laws, SXSW has now decided to remove that language from its contracts, starting next year.

In other political SXSW news, it has been announced that FBI Director James Comey will now not speak at the event, as had been planned, “due to scheduling conflicts keeping him in Washington DC”.