Kneecap, the Belfast-based Irish language hip-hop trio, announced on Sunday, March 10 that it was canceling its upcoming appearances at SXSW, the annual film and music festival in Austin, Texas.

"We have made the decision to cancel our three shows at SXSW and not travel to Austin as planned on Tuesday," Kneecap said in a social media blast on Sunday.

"It is done in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to highlight the unacceptable deep links the festival has to weapons companies and the US military who at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population.

"We cannot in good conscience attend an arts festival that has 'The U.S Army' as a 'Super Sponsor' and is platforming RTX (formerly Raytheon), Collins Aerospace, and BAE Systems, the very companies selling the weapons that have murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children.

"This is 10 times the number of people killed in a 30-year war in the North of Ireland... in 5 months.

"These organisations are literally profiting from and facilitating war crimes.

"This decision will have a significant financial impact on Kneecap, both on lost income and on logistical costs already incurred, but it isn't an iota of hardship when compared with the unimageable suffering being inflicted every minute of
every day on the people of Gaza.

"That the organizers of SXSW have taken the decision to mix the arts with the military and weapons companies is unforgivable, that they have done so as we witness a genocide facilitated by the US military and its contractors is depraved.

"We did consider only playing 'unofficial events' but this would still contribute to the festival indirectly.

"To those who have bought tickets to our SXSW shows, we know you will understand our decision and hope you can make other dates / cities on our upcoming North American tour."

Kneecap concluded their statement with a quote from Jeffrey Sachs, professor at Columbia University: "Israel is in non-stop war crime status, in genocidal status, without shame, without remorse, without truth .. this is a murderous gang in government. They are zealots. They are not going to stop."

We will not be appearing at @sxsw festival. 👇

— KNEECAP (@KNEECAPCEOL) March 10, 2024

While Kneecap has canceled its performances, Ireland House at SXSW appears to still be featuring the group's semi-autobiographical film "Kneecap," with a discussion scheduled for Tuesday and a film screening on Wednesday.

Kneecap has been unapologetically outspoken about its stance on the war in Gaza in recent weeks.

The trio donned pro-Palestinian badges and tops during an appearance on RTÉ's "The Late Late Show" on February 23.

When host Patrick Kielty pointed out the pro-Palestinian accessories, Móglaí Bap responded: "100%, but that's why we're here and we use our platform to highlight the genocide that's happening in Palestine at the moment.

"30,000 Palestinians have been murdered by American weapons and mostly, two-thirds of them, women and children.

"So I think we just have to use this platform as an opportunity to appeal to Irish people to attend rallies and protests and to support the BDS movement, to show solidarity to Palestine and hopefully, one day, that Palestine will be free."

Afterward, RTÉ executives said afterward that the group had agreed not to wear pro-Palestinian emblems.

On Friday, March 8, the trio performed their new single "Sick In The Head" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," marking their American late-night debut.

Before their performance aired on Friday night, the group issued a statement saying in part: “Tonight was a pre-record performance, which meant our ability to make a statement on current events was not possible. 

“We will always use our voice to speak about the genocide being committed against the Palestinian people, sadly being facilitated by the U.S.

“Use your voice to call for an immediate ceasefire and those responsible for war crimes to be brought to justice.

“Free Palestine.”

A message ahead of our appearance on the Tonight Show. 🇮🇪 🤝🇵🇸

— KNEECAP (@KNEECAPCEOL) March 9, 2024