Bruce Springsteen canceled a planned concert in North Carolina to protest the state’s recent passage of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as the LGBT “bathroom” law.
In a statement on his official website, the 66-year-old rocker and leader of the E Street Band said that the “fight against prejudice and bigotry” is more important than any rock concert on Friday.
HB 2, signed into law late last month, makes it illegal for transgender men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms in North Carolina. The bill further prevents local municipalities from enacting their own anti-discrimination statutes.
“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,” Springsteen wrote. “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.”
“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.”
The pro-LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign issued a statement Friday praising Springsteen for canceling his scheduled North Carolina performance: “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, who is finishing up the North American leg of his latest tour before heading overseas for a jaunt through Europe, is the latest celebrity to boycott the state of North Carolina after the bill’s passage.
Paypal also canceled plans to open a global operations center in the state. Filmmaker Rob Reiner said he would no longer shoot there and former NBA great Charles Barkley has called on the league to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte.
The backlash against North Carolina’s new law comes as other states, including Georgia and Mississippi, have also dealt with blowback stemming from the recent passage of their own religious freedom laws.
Springsteen will visit Columbus, Ohio’s Schottenstein Center on April 12.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum