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Bruce Springsteen Cancels North Carolina Concert to Protest its Anti-LGBT Bill

He joins a growing boycott North Carolina movement

via Flickr user (cc) Jeff Ross

Last Friday, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band announed it would cancel its concert scheduled for last night in Greensboro, North Carolina. The decision was made to protest the state’s recently-passed anti-LGBT legislation. According to the band’s guitarist, Steven Van Zandt, “We always try to find middle ground, and we considered it,” he told The Associated Press. “Should we go there and make a statement from the stage? You consider those things, and then you realize that’s just playing into their hands. That's not going to hurt enough — you need to hurt them economically.”

The band announced the decision on its website saying:


As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. 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. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.

Springsteen joins a growing movement of people and companies boycotting North Carolina after the passage of its Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. Last week, GOOD reported on PayPal’s decision to scrap its plans to build a $3.6 million global operations plant in the state which would have brought 400 new jobs. Google, Facebook, American Airlines, and Bank of America have also released statements opposing the law. North Carolina Republican congressman Mark Walker called Springsteen a “bully” for standing up for North Carolina’s vulnerable LGBT community. “I consider this a bully tactic,” Walker said to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”

This wasn’t the first time Springsteen has stood for LGBT rights. Back in 2009, he released a statement in support of gay marriage in New Jersey urging, “those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now.” He also wrote the song “Streets of Philadelphia” for the 1993 film Philadelphia about a gay lawyer with AIDS (Tom Hanks) facing discrimination.

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