SXSW 2020
SXSW 2020

SXSW adds more celeb speakers as Facebook, Twitter drop out due to coronavirus

SXSW adds more celeb speakers as Twitter drops out due to coronavirus

Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick
Kumail Nanjiani has been added to this year's SXSW lineup. Photo by Nicole Rivelli

SXSW announced the addition of more than a dozen new keynote and featured speakers on Tuesday, March 3, despite mounting concerns about the coronavirus. 

Joining this year's previously announced keynote speakers is COO of TBWA\Media Arts Lab Brent Anderson, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Tyler N. “Nick” Hague, and CNN Business writer Jackie Wattles.

Today's lineup also includes the addition of more than a dozen featured speakers, including  Mr. Eazi, Chris Evans, Emily V. Gordon, Tamron Hall, Gillian Jacobs, Karlie Kloss, Kumail Nanjiani, Frank Oz,  Pharrell, Jon Platt, RZA, Alicia Tillman, and more. See the full lineup here

Not appearing at this year's festival is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, whose keynote address was canceled over the weekend. The social media company has suspended all non-critical travel for its employees, including those attending SXSW, it announced on its blog. In addition to the travel ban, Twitter is implementing mandatory work from home measures for employees in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan.

Facebook and Intel have also reportedly dropped out of SXSW, according to multiple outlets, including KXAN. According to Deadline, Facebook had dozens of speakers and an activation planned for the fest.

Despite these high-profile cancelations, SXSW said it has no plans to cancel this year's event. On March 2, the Austin-based festival issued the following statement: 

"SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority."

Austin Public Health says that while there are no plans to postpone any events, it "will continue to follow national guidelines."