Rocker Eddie Vedder explained his band’s decision to cancel a concert in North Carolina over the state’s “bathroom law” and dedicated a song to “all the soldiers in the LGBT community” during a Pearl Jam show in Hampton, Virginia on Monday.
“We had to make a real tough call about what we would do about the situation in North Carolina. Because they have a law there that broadly discriminates against a whole group of people,” Vedder said before a Pearl Jam encore at the Hampton Coliseum, according to Rolling Stone.
Further explaining the band’s decision to cancel a Wednesday show in Raleigh, North Carolina over the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — which requires individuals to use the public restroom that corresponds with their biological gender — Vedder stated: “It was a hard process because we thought we could still play and make things right and we could fortify all the people on the ground working to repeal this despicable law.” He added:
We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show, but the reality is there is nothing like the immense power of boycotting and putting a strain and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement so…
So we apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who are going to Raleigh, we apologize to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do. They have a reason to be pissed, and we’re pissed off too. But we gotta be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake and they can fix it.
Vedder then told his fans: “So tonight we play this one for all the soldiers in the LGBT community.”
Pearl Jam then played a cover of Steven Van Zandt’s “I Am a Patriot.”
Both Van Zandt and his E Street bandleader Bruce Springsteen came out strongly against the North Carolina bathroom privacy law earlier this month after canceling a show in Greensboro.
Van Zandt described the so-called “bathroom law” as “really vile and evil,” and said artists, businesses, and other entities could challenge the legislation by hurting North Carolina “economically.”
Springsteen stated he feels the law is a “human rights” issue, and said he canceled the show to “fight against prejudice and bigotry.”
In a statement posted on Pearl Jam’s website on Monday, the group stated it was also “frustrated by the situation” in North Carolina.
“The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens,” read the Pearl Jam statement. “The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound.”