Bruce Springsteen has canceled his upcoming show in Greensboro, North Carolina, taking a stand against the state’s new anti-LGBT law that targets transgender individuals.
The New Jersey rocker, himself a proponent of gay marriage in his home state, issued a statement apologizing to his fans, but said a canceled show was the most effective way of “raising my voice in opposition” to those he feels are suppressing basic human rights.
Posting to his Facebook page and his official website on April 8, Bruce Springsteen announced that he, along with his E Street Band, would be canceling his upcoming show — which is part of “The River Tour 2016” — at the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday, April 10. In the post, he explained that the state of North Carolina had enacted the so-called “bathroom law” (HB2: Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act), legislation that requires transgender individuals to use restroom facilities according to their birth gender and not the gender with which a person might identify. Springsteen also noted that the law also disallows for people of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community to sue if their civil rights (with regard to their gender identification) have been violated, a burden the rocker said no other group in the state of North Carolina has to face.
Springsteen wrote the following.
“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.”
Andrew Brown, Public Relations Manager for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, said that more than 15,000 tickets were sold for the now canceled April 10 concert, according to WGHP-TV in Greensboro. He said that ticket holders would be reimbursed the price of their tickets. The canceled show will cost the Coliseum an estimated $100,000 in lost revenues.
And that’s “bad for business,” according to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who added that the Springsteen cancellation could have an impact on future acts scheduled to appear, not to mention those currently in negotiations.
Mayor Vaughan had the following to say about the law.
“I don’t think they thought through all of the unintended consequences, not even the economic consequences but the social consequences.”
Her analysis comes on the heels of considerable national push-back against the new North Carolina law, Bruce Springsteen’s canceled show being just the latest. WSOC-TV in Charlotte took a look at the negative impact the anti-LGBT law is having and might potentially have on Charlotte. The station reported that Charlotte tourism sources revealed Friday that four conventions had been canceled due to the passage of HB2, nine more that were in negotiations had decided to forego holding conventions in Charlotte, and nearly 30 more were on the fence. This constituted a loss of 2,300 booked rooms lost, which equates to considerable lost revenue for the booking venues, not to mention losses in potential income for city businesses and services while conventions are ongoing, thus far with another 90,000 at risk.
Charlotte and the state have already lost future jobs and revenue to the anti-LGBT bill’s passage. On Tuesday PayPal announced, according to Reuters, that it had canceled a new operations center in Charlotte that was to employ 400 workers in the area due to the new state law.
And it could get worse. Charlotte is scheduled to host next year’s NBA All-Star Game. Association officials have suggested moving the game because of the law. Charles Barkley, former NBA star and current sports analyst for TNT network, publicly called for the game to be moved on CNN.
HB2 was a hastily passed legislative measure, according to the Washington Post, in answer to a Charlotte municipal ordinance that allowed transgender persons to use restrooms according to their gender identity. In signing the bill last month, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory praised it, stating that it was needed “to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette” in Charlotte.
Springsteen is currently on his “The River Tour 2016,” which will stop next in Columbus, Ohio on April 12. He will end the American leg of the tour at the end of April with a two-night stand in Brooklyn, New York, then head to Europe, where he and the E Street Band will perform until the end of July.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]