Bruce Springsteen Cancels North Carolina Concert Over Anti-LGBT Law
Bruce Springsteen is canceling his concert this week in North Carolina in order to show his opposition to the state’s radical new anti-LGBT law, HB2, which passed on March 23. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, which has been pushing to spread awareness of this law, praised the move.
“Bruce Springsteen is a hero and an icon because he gives voice, both through his music and his advocacy, to those who struggle against injustice and equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It means so much that he has spoken out against this hateful bill on behalf of thousands of citizens whose rights and fundamental dignity are being trampled by the leadership of North Carolina.
Springsteen announced his decision to cancel this Sunday’s Greensboro show with a statement that explaining how HB2, known colloquially as the “bathroom” law and officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, as an infringement on human rights. He also explained that the law “attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the work place.” Springsteen announced, “To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.” He also added that his decision to cancel to show is to show solidarity to the “groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments,” calling them “freedom fighters.”
HB2 eliminates existing rules for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being municipally passed in the future. It also requires that transgender students in public schools use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity, directly at odds with Title IX. The law was passed in a hurried single-day session with Gov. Pat McCrory signing it in the middle of the night. This is the first state law to target transgender students, despite similar proposals across the country this year, and many worry this is a sign that many more states will pass similar legislation despite Title IX. Not only does this interfere with the rights of those involved, but also it puts the U.S. Department of Education’s $4.5 billion of federal funding at risk for these schools, forcing schools to choose between either breaking federal or state law.
While Springsteen is the first cultural leader to speak out about it, businesses in North Carolina have taken similar action. More than 130 business, including Starbucks, Facebook, Apple and Citibank, leaders are calling for a repeal, and a number of businesses have removed investments from the state until the action is taken. PayPal which was supposed to open an operations center in Charlotte has now canceled those plans, costing the state 400 future jobs. Lionsgate and A&E network which have historically filmed there have vowed not to work there for the time being.
More than 15,000 concert tickets had been sold and Greensboro Coliseum officials have estimated a loss of $100,000 net revenue due to the cancellation, but did not comment further on the issue. Springsteen noted that he knew fans would be disappointed — even more so probably because although they will be refunded for the price of the ticket, Ticketmaster’s reported $25 service fee will not be refunded — but asked them to look at the bigger picture.
“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice bigotry today — which is happening as I write — is one of them,” finished Springsteen’s statement. “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.
North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse called the cancelation “bizarre,” so it is unclear when change will come to North Carolina, despite the rising outcry.