South by Southwest Organizers Apologize After U.S. Olympic Fencer Asked to Remove Hijab

SXSW official says it was 'insensitive' and against the festival's policy to ask Ibtihaj Muhammad to remove her hijab to get access.

Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad poses for a portrait at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
AFP

A South by Southwest volunteer has been dismissed and festival organizers apologized after an U.S. Olympic fencer who is Muslim was asked to remove her headscarf in order to get a credential.

South by Southwest registration official Amin Simms said in an emailed statement that it was "an insensitive request" and against the festival's policy to ask Ibtihaj Muhammad to remove her hijab Saturday at the Austin festival. Muhammad couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Simms wrote that festival organizers apologized to Muhammad and that they were embarrassed by the situation.

Muhammad is set to compete for the U.S. at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

South by Southwest is a major festival of film, interactive media, and music.