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SXSW Criticized Over Deportation Clause In Its Artist Contracts

Several musicians have decided to pull out of this year's South by Southwest festival because of the clause.
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SXSW Criticized Over Deportation Clause In Its Artist Contracts

Several musicians have decided to pull out of this year's South by Southwest festival over a clause in the event's contract for its artists.

The clause appears to threaten international artists with deportation if they break festival rules.

The controversy started when the founder of Brooklyn-based rock group Told Slant tweeted a screenshot of the clause in question.

The portion of the contract says international bands caught playing gigs that aren't part of the official festival schedule could face "immediate deportation, revoked passport and denied entry by U.S. Customs Border Patrol at U.S. ports of entry."

New Jersey's Don Giovanni Records also decided to put the kibosh on its official showcase after Told Slant bowed out.

South by Southwest's managing director originally claimed the screenshot of the contract had been altered. He later clarified that Told Slant's decision to ditch the festival was "a misunderstanding" of the event's policies. 

He told The Austin Chronicle the festival has had those stipulations in place for years now but never had to use them. They're meant to stop artists from doing "really egregious" things, like starting a fight or ignoring the festival's pyrotechnic rules.

But he also acknowledged the clause has taken on a new meaning since the Trump administration introduced its controversial immigration policies and travel ban

South by Southwest says it opposes the travel ban and is working to help any international acts that have issues at U.S. ports of entry during the festival.