An upcoming Sacred Symbols Podcast live show panel at PAX West was abruptly cancelled, though event organizers refuse to provide a reasoning behind their decision to cancel the show.
Sacred Symbols is a weekly podcast “about all things PS4, PS Vita, and PSVR” hosted by video games industry veteran Chris Moriarty and comedian Chris “Ray Gun” Maldonado, as part of Moriarty’s Colin’s Last Stand podcast network. The panel was intended to be a live recording of a Sacred Symbols episode and had been previously approved by convention organizers. Yet, one month before the PAX West convention, organizers reached out to Moriarty and informed him that they would be removing his panel from the PAX West 2019 schedule:
PAX West rescinded Sacred Symbols’ panel today. So if you were planning to go… sorry.
I asked why, and am waiting on a response. pic.twitter.com/DXPVKUmVcZ
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) July 30, 2019
After reaching out to the convention organizers multiple times, Moriarty received a response that strangely failed to provide a concrete reason for the panel’s cancellation, instead offering to refund Moriarty and Maldonado’s airfare in exchange for their complementary attendee badges:
1.) Reiterated the panel’s cancellation, but gave no reason for it.
2.) No refunds for PAX attendees.
3.) They will refund our airfare expenses in exchange for the free passes they offered. (This last one’s weird. Why would I go where I’m not wanted?!) pic.twitter.com/iElEmNMqDs
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) August 1, 2019
In a statement to Kotaku, whose coverage of the story focused on mischaracterizing the political views of Moriarty and Moldonado, criticizing the Sacred Symbols fanbase, and claiming that Moriarty did not originally respond to comment due to the reporter’s lack of due diligence, Moriarty discussed his suspicions regarding the reason for the panel’s cancellation:
“Part of the reason we think there’s such obvious silence around what happened to us, our fans, and our panel is because we are widely disliked in the industry. And since PAX is both too chickenshit to say why our panel was removed while refusing to offer refunds to fans that feel ripped off, I’m paying for 20 people’s PAX West passes out of my own pocket. People are quick to point out how much of a financial boon this was for Chris and I, but I can speak for both of us when I say: We’d rather quietly and peacefully done our panel, met our fans, tried some games on the show floor, bought some merch, and went home. Now we know we aren’t welcome, and — as violence has been threatened at us since PAX’s cancellation should we attend — I doubt I’ll ever try to do a panel (or even go to a show) again.”
Maldonado, also in a statement to Kotaku, echoed this sentiment:
“If I were a betting man, I’d say people complained that we were given a panel and PAX capitulated. PAX won’t respond because they can’t. If a big event like PAX said, ‘We cancelled the panel because Chris and Colin are Nazis,’ (which is something I’ve seen often since the cancellation) they know it wouldn’t hold up to actual scrutiny.”
The gaming industry has been uncharacteristically silent on this issue, with coverage of the story being solely provided by esports outlet Dexerto, the heavily-slanted Kotaku article, and smaller outlets such as, Game Revolution and Playstation Enthusiast.