SXSW plays host to a multitude of special showcases taking over various venues in Austin, TX and one such event happens to have a feminism focus. Tumblr is putting on their 79 Cents party (79 cents being the difference in gender wages) with a lineup consisting of Jhene Aiko, Empress Of, Little Simz, Tacocat, and Crystal Castles, although the latter has been amidst controversy as of late, which has prompted their removal from the lineup.
Back in 2014, vocalist Alice Glass departed from Crystal Castles and was replaced by Edith Frances. Of course Edith is also female, but Alice had some choice words regarding the band, specifically band member Ethan Kath, being booked for a feminism-focused event. “As someone who knew Ethan Kath on a personal and professional level, it is my opinion that he is not an appropriate artist to be performing at a feminism-centric event,” she explained to The Verge.
As Brooklyn Vegan points out, Kath made comments directed at Alice that were passive aggressive and hostile, saying that she was never really an integral part of the band.
"i wish my former vocalist the best of luck in her future endeavors. i think it can be empowering for her to be in charge of her own project. it should be rewarding for her considering she didn’t appear on Crystal Castles’ best known songs. (she’s not on Untrust Us. Not In Love, Vanished, Crimewave, Vietnam, Magic Spells, Knights, Air War, Leni, Lovers Who Uncover, Violent Youth, Reckless, Year of Silence, Intimate, 1991, Good Time, Violent Dreams etc.). people often gave her credit for my lyrics and that was fine, i didn’t care."
Once the controversy was brought to light, Tumblr felt it was necessary to remove Crystal Castles from the event, as having them perform would most likely be a distraction. A statement from Tumblr reads:
"We’ve removed Crystal Castles from the lineup of the 79 Cents party. We don’t know the facts around comments made about a member of the band, and we’re not going to engage in an investigation around it. We’re hosting this event to highlight gender disparity issues, something that Tumblr and our community cares deeply about, and we don’t want the band’s presence to distract from this important mission."
With Crystal Castles due to release their new album this spring, this cancellation is not a good sign. Below you can view the updated flyer for Tumblr's 79 Cents party.