A U.S. Congressman has ripped into Bruce Springsteen for cancelling a gig in North Carolina in protest of the state’s so-called Bathroom Bill.
Republican Mark Walker dismissed Springsteen as a “leftist” and a “bully,” and said he would rather attend an upcoming Justin Bieber concert than watch Springsteen perform on Sunday.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, Walker also added that he fully supported the controversial new state law that led Springsteen to axe his upcoming show.
Springsteen announced on his website and social media pages Friday that he would not be present at Sunday’s gig in Greensboro, North Carolina because of his firm objection to the state’s recently-passed House Bill 2 (HB 2), which effectively blocks cities and counties from passing legislature that protects members of the LGBT community from discrimination.
HB 2 was introduced before the North Carolina General Assembly last month as a direct response to a city ordinance in Charlotte that would have allowed transgender individuals to use the restrooms and other facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.
As a result, HB 2 has since been nicknamed the Bathroom Bill.
On March 23, the North Carolina Senate passed the bill unanimously after state Democrats walked out of the chamber in protest. Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law that same night.
Yet the new law has already come under heavy fire from business leaders and celebrities from across the globe.
PayPal announced it will be scrapping plans to bring 400 new jobs to North Carolina, and Lionsgate has moved production of its Hulu pilot Crushed from North Carolina to Canada. Basketball legend Charles Barkley even appeared on CNN last week calling on league officials to relocate next year’s NBA All-Star Game away from the state.
Springsteen, who has previously shown immense support for marriage equality and LGBT rights within his own state of New Jersey, said Friday he felt it was time for him to follow suit.
“No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden,” he said. “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.”
The Greensboro Coliseum Complex, where Springsteen had been scheduled to play this weekend, will reportedly lose an estimated $100,000 in revenues as a result of the cancellation. Over 15,000 tickets had already been sold for the event. All of those ticket holders will now be owed a full refund.
Yet, according to Republican Mark Walker, Springsteen’s decision to cancel the show amounts to little more than a toddler throwing a tantrum.
“It’s disappointing he’s not following through on his commitments,” Walker said. “Bruce is known to be on the radical left, and he’s got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic. It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”
Walker also added that the Greensboro area, which he represents in the U.S. Congress, had plenty of other upcoming concerts that he would prefer to attend, anyway.
“We’ve got other artists coming soon — Def Leppard, Justin Bieber,” Walker said. “I’ve never been a Bieber fan, but I might have to go. Maybe artists who weren’t ‘born to run’ deserve a little bit more support.”
Walker then went on to argue that Springsteen regularly demonstrated poor judgement, citing Springsteen’s decision to sing an anti-war song at The Concert for Valor in 2014.
“This is a guy who has such a lack of discernment that he sang a draft-dodging song at a Veteran’s Day concert meant to honor those who have actually served,” said Walker. “Using inflammatory vitriol is not where I am. I would just like to intellectually explain to Bruce Springsteen the safety aspect of this bill.”
According to Walker, the controversial HB2 is designed to hinder “sexual predators,” and is not designed to target transgender individuals.
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]