In a statement, the organisers said: "Black Hat has chosen to remove US Representative, Will Hurd, as our 2019 Black Hat USA Keynote.
Based on the number of people I saw pissed off yesterday about the BlackHat keynote selection, saying they'd be cancelling registration if it wasn't reversed, I look forward to seeing a record breaking number of you at the conference this year! https://t.co/HcdikP5K6l— Jake Williams (@MalwareJake) June 14, 2019
"We misjudged the separation of technology and politics. We will continue to focus on technology and research, however we recognise that Black Hat USA is not the appropriate platform for the polarising political debate resulting from our choice of speaker.
"We are still fully dedicated to providing an inclusive environment and apologise that this decision did not reflect that sentiment."
BlackHat's decision to have Rep. Will Hurd keynote their conference is slap in the face to women in #cybersecurity.— Chad Loder ✸ (@chadloder) June 14, 2019
Hurd has a ZERO approval rating from @NARAL for his votes against women's reproductive rights. How many women were on the approval panel? https://t.co/zzYwKjed3O
The choice of Hurd came to light a few days ago, and the reaction was immediate.
Security industry pioneer Chad Loder said, "BlackHat's decision to have Rep. Will Hurd keynote their conference is a slap in the face to women in cyber security," adding, "how many women were on the approval panel?"
Are you're advocating that to be a Blackhat speaker one must support the rights of women to terminate their pregnancies? That's the qualifier?— Davi̓̅͊̈́̆͌̀̚d Sutherland? (@turnkit) June 15, 2019
The choice of a politician for a keynote speech may seem odd, but Hurd is said to be the most clued in in the Republican ranks when it comes to cyber security.
However, even politicians who know nothing about technology are often selected to speak at technology conference, with a prime example being the selection of defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as keynote speaker by FireEye for its annual shindig this year.
This statement reads like "we're sorry you let things like feeling get in the way of our profits" pic.twitter.com/5LrZvI1OA9— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) June 14, 2019
The Blackhat Security conference has removed a speaker for having a pro-life voting record.— Tim Pool (@Timcast) June 15, 2019
Removing a speaker for political issues unrelated to cyber security is insane. https://t.co/V9EsefprP9