Netflix And HBO Latest Companies To Back Out Of SXSW Film Festival Plans Over Coronavirus Fears

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Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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Netflix and HBO’s Warner Media are the latest companies to back out of the annual film festival SXSW in Texas over fears concerning the coronavirus.

The streaming site has reportedly opted to pull a variety of screenings from the festival being held later this month in Austin due to concerns about the virus, according to Entertainment Weekly in a piece published Thursday. (RELATED: New ‘Westworld’ Season 3 Trailer Gets Released, Ed Harris Returns As The Man In Black)

Those screenings include the movies “Uncorked” and documentaries “A Secret Love,” “L.A. Originals,” “Mucho Mucho Amor” and “Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.” The company also nixed a March 15th panel with Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones on the series “Black Excellence.” (RELATED: REPORT: SiriusXM Quarantines Top Executive, Group Of Staffers After Coronavirus Scare)

Warner Media announced in a statement that it had decided “not to move forward with activations at SXSW” as a precaution. At this point, there was no other information provided if this also means cancellations of the company’s planned screenings and panels.

It all comes following reports Wednesday that Amazon was cancelling its plans to participate in the film festival, which included planned screenings and panel presentations for two of its upcoming Prime Video series, “Upload” and “Tales From the Loop.”

Dr. Mark Escott, director of Austin Public Health, said there’s currently no evidence that would suggest cancelling “mass events” like SXSW would make the community safer.

“If there’s any evidence that our community will be safer by closing down public events, we will do that,” Escott shared.

To date, there are 11 confirmed cases of the illness known as COVID-19 in the state.

The event kicks off Friday, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 22.