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Ringo Starr Cancels North Carolina Concert over Religious Freedom Law

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr cancelled an upcoming performance in North Carolina Wednesday over the state’s recent passage of what critics have called an “anti-LGBT” religious liberty law.

In a statement on his official Facebook page Wednesday, Starr apologized to his North Carolina fans for the cancellation but said the move was necessary to stand up to the state’s “hatred.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love,” Starr said. “How sad that they feel that this group of people cannot be defended.”

The 75-year-old Beatle had been scheduled to perform with his All-Starr Band at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina on June 18.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 2, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, into law last week shortly after the bill passed the state Legislature. The law mandates that transgender individuals must use public bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex as listed on their birth certificate. North Carolina issues updated birth certificates to individuals who have undergone a sex change and can provide a notarized statement their a physician.

Starr’s cancellation comes a week after fellow rocker Bruce Springsteen cancelled a planned concert in Greensboro over the newly-enacted law, writing on his website that the “fight against prejudice and bigotry” is “more important than a rock show.”

Filmmaker Rob Reiner has vowed not to shoot projects in the state in protest against the law, while documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has asked the distributor of his latest film not to screen it at any North Carolina theaters.

Meanwhile, some artists have pledged to continue to perform in North Carolina while expressing disappointment over the law’s passage, including Cyndi Lauper, Jimmy Buffett and Gregg Allman.

Canadian rocker Bryan Adams cancelled a planned concert in Mississippi over that state’s passage of its own religious liberty law, HB 1523.

Starr’s All Starr Tour kicks off on June 3 in Syracuse, New York.

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum

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