Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

FBI Director and election disruptor James Comey to speak at SXSW 2017

(Photo: Getty Images, Alex Wong)
(Photo: Getty Images, Alex Wong)

Everybody loves “disruptors” in the tech world, because they shake things up and introduce exciting new ideas that people might not even realize they want yet. FBI Director James Comey is sort of like one of those people, but instead of disrupting the tech industry, he’s more famous for disrupting the 2016 presidential election. As you may recall, Comey and the FBI determined in July of last year that no criminal charges should be brought against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, but just a few days before the election, he went against the FBI’s own recommendations and made a big show of sending a letter to Congress saying that there were more emails that had to be reviewed. He eventually conceded that there was no new evidence against Clinton, but the damage had already been done.

Now, at least partly because of James Comey, we’re living in an America that is trying to ban Muslims from entering the country, that is still threatening to build a wall between here and Mexico, and that can ignore the will of the people long enough to enjoy a Pixar movie. As for Comey himself, Spin is reporting that he’s been invited to speak at SXSW this year, so he’s doing just fine. He’ll be appearing on a panel about “the tensions between privacy and national security” with Jeffrey Herbst, the CEO of Washington D.C.’s Newseum.

Here’s the full statement from SXSW:

In partnership with the Newseum, SXSW’s conference programming will include a conversation with FBI Director James Comey and Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst.

“The Newseum is the premier national institution that promotes the freedoms of the First Amendment and the right of free expression,” said Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst. “At SXSW, we will conduct a unique conversation examining the tensions between privacy and national security. Being able to share a high level conversation with FBI Director James Comey and the audience in Austin will help us all understand the challenges to our rights in the age of disruption.”

SXSW has always been committed to facilitating conversations that inform, inspire, and challenge. At a time when the nation’s top law enforcement agency has been at the center of international news, SXSW looks forward to an enlightening and productive discussion.


It’s unclear if there will be a Q&A section, but hopefully someone will get a chance to ask Comey some pressing questions like “how do you sleep at night?,” “what is wrong with you?,” “seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?,” and anything else they might think of along those lines.

SXSW is running from March 10-19 in Austin, Texas. Comey’s panel will be held on March 13.

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