Veteran E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt declared Friday the best way to punish states passing “really vile and evil” religious freedom legislation is to “hurt them economically.”
After Bruce Springsteen announced he had abruptly canceled a show in Greensboro to protest North Carolina’s LGBT “bathroom law,” Van Zandt spoke to reporters about the band’s decision to pull the plug on its fans.
“It’s unfortunately the only way people understand. You have to hurt them economically in order to have them do the right thing morally, unfortunately,” Van Zandt told Rolling Stone Friday night backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York.
The musician and actor, 65, also told the publication he and the band’s other members felt the the issue was “just too important.”
“This really vile and evil discrimination is starting to spread state to state and we thought, ‘We better take a stand right now and catch it early,’” he said.
Van Zandt made similar comments when speaking to the Associated Press: “We always try to find middle ground, and we considered it … 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.”
Added Van Zandt: “This sort of thing is spreading like an evil virus around the country… We felt we better stop this, we should try and stop this early, and hopefully other people will rise up and join us.”
The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act requires individuals to use the restroom of their biological gender and also prevents local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination laws.
In a statement explaining why he cancelled the Greensboro show, Springsteen said the “fight against prejudice and bigotry” was more important than playing music.
He also accused the new law of attacking “the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace,” adding: “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.”
Steven Van Zandt praised Springsteen on Twitter:
Proud to be in the E Street Band. https://t.co/4OpgGageXz
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) April 8, 2016