Bruce Springsteen Pulls Concert over Controversial Bathroom Law

Claire Bernish
April 10, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) North Carolina — Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert slated to take place Sunday in Greensboro, North Carolina, as a protest against the state’s recent passage of a draconian law, which has been described as legalized discrimination against LGBT individuals.

In a statement explaining his decision, Springsteen said:

“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.”

Often referred to as the “bathroom law,” transgender individuals are required to use public bathrooms associated with the gender listed on their birth certificates. HB2 generated a firestorm of controversy, as well as serious repercussions not limited to Springsteen’s cancellation. Less than two weeks after the bill passed, PayPal abruptly yanked plans to open a $3.6 million operations center in Charlotte.

PayPal explained in its announcement, which Fusion quoted, that North Carolina’s law “invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law. The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

‘The Boss’ referenced PayPal’s and others’ decisions, saying:

“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.”

In his announcement, Springsteen indirectly knocks lawmakers responsible for the regressive law by calling the move an “attempt … to overturn” progress the country has made on “human rights.”

“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,” he added. “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

Under the new law, cities and localities are prohibited from passing anti-discrimination ordinances or other measures; the legislation effectively canned an ordinance Charlotte had passed to protect its LGBT community.

According to the Charlotte Observer, in addition to PayPal, “More than 130 executives from companies such as Bank of America, American Airlines, General Electric and IBM have signed a letter urging Gov. Pat McCrory and lawmakers to repeal the law.”

Though such corporations likely only wish to head off potential customer backlash should they choose not to vocalize opposition to North Carolina’s law, an interesting response came out of the State of New York — arguably with its own liberty-crushing repercussions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last month banning all nonessential travel to the southern state by all New York state employees. Citing New York’s history of inclusivity and nondiscrimination against the LGBT community — beginning with the Stonewall riots — Cuomo said in a statement:

“As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”

North Carolina lawmakers who supported HB2 had inexplicably predicted any backlash would be negligible. Irate Bruce Springsteen fans, the loss of an estimated 400 jobs from PayPal’s withdrawal, and, as Common Dreams pointed out, “a growing number of artists athletes and companies … including the NHL and NBA” make that prediction laughable.

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