Comedy website and cultural arm of the Democratic Party Funny or Die released a new sketch Thursday skewering North Carolina’s recent passage of a religious freedom law with a fake tourism commercial highlighting what critics call the law’s “anti-gay” bias.
“Ah, North Carolina. Home of beaches, mountains and an extremely homophobic governor,” the fake ad begins. “Now you can experience the beautiful outdoor cityscapes and incredible ignorance by hang-gliding backwards in time, racing to the wrong side of history in a kayak, teaching your children to judge others while frolicking in the waves, and enjoying our waterfalls without fear of gay people falling on you.”
North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB 2) into law on Wednesday, making it illegal for local municipalities in the state to pass their own non-discrimination bills, and mandates that people must use public bathrooms that correspond with their “biological sex” and not the gender with which they identify. Critics have called the bill “anti-gay” and “anti-trans,” and several major corporations have threatened the state with an economic boycott in response.
“If you’re grossed out when same-sex couples order wedding cakes, or if you’re obsessed with who is in what bathroom, or if you think religious liberty laws only apply to your religion, North Carolina is for you,” the fake ad continued. “We’re resisting social progress rather than helping people in need. Because North Carolina stands for… Nobody Cares.”
Funny or Die released a similar “anti-gay tourism commercial” for Indiana last year after Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law last March.
The comedy website, founded by liberal filmmakers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell in 2007, has long served as both a liberal creative tastemaker and as a functioning outreach vehicle for progressive, Democratic policies. The site’s popular “Between Two Ferns” series memorably invited President Obama to plug the then-new Affordable Care Act in 2014, and the site has taken aim at conservatives repeatedly over the years with skits like “Prop 8: The Musical” and “Gays Beware.”
Just last month, the site released a 50-minute “long-lost made-for-TV” film based on GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, with Johnny Depp playing Trump.
In April 2015, Funny or Die opened an office in Washington, D.C. and announced that Brad Jenkins, the former associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration, would serve as its managing director. In February, the comedy website hired former senior Obama speechwriter David Litt to be its head writer in D.C.
The backlash over North Carolina’s religious freedom bill mirrors a similar battle waging in Georgia over the state’s Free Exercise Protection Act, which critics have also called an “anti-gay,” discriminatory law. Major corporations, film and television studios and the NFL have all threatened an economic boycott of the state if Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal does not veto the bill before the May 3 deadline.