Breaking: Legendary American rocker Bruce Springsteen has issued a statement announcing the cancellation of a performance on Sunday 10th April 2016 at Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, NC.
The performance by Springsteen and the E Street Band was scheduled as part of The River Tour, the first tour by the artist in 2 years, and rumoured to be the final tour with the E Street Band as Springsteen is believed to be starting a solo project soon after.
Cancelled in response to the passing of HB2, a controversial anti-LGBT law recently passed by governor Pat McCrory and the Republican assembly of North Carolina, the artist stated that he and the band “want to show solidarity for those freedom fighters” facing the spectre of religiously-led discrimination in every aspect of life from employment to housing, medical care to access to public amenities.
Springsteen continues: “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,”
“Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments,” Springsteen said. “Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters.”
The performer is not alone in his condemnation. Bank of America and American Airlines, which are both based in Charlotte, North Carolina, were quick to criticize the state for the passing of the new law, rushed through the general assembly and signed within just 24 hours.
More considerable action was taken by PayPal, with the cancellation of plans to open a new operations centre in Charlotte with the loss of 400 jobs. The company released a statement shortly after the new law was signed making clear that it could not function in a state which allowed for discrimination against its employees and which would directly contradict the company’s ethos of providing an inclusive workplace free from discrimination of any kind.
Both Lionsgate Home Entertainment and A+E Networks have reportedly already cancelled planned projects and relocated them to other friendly states, while Miramax, The Weinstein Company, Turner Broadcasting and 21st Century Fox have all made statements clarifying that they will each be “re-evaluating” their use of the state for projects and considering alternative locations in the future.
Google Ventures has also weighed in on the boycott, openly stating that it will not be dealing with any companies based in North Carolina. CEO Bill Maris requested that staff “please flag any investments in NC that come through as I am not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this.”
A further 100 corporations, including Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, eBay, Citibank, Hilton, American Airlines, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt and Ralph Lauren have made statements either confirming that they plan to fight this law, plan to boycott the state, or plan to reconsider their involvement there, until this law is removed.
Wells Fargo lit their iconic building in Charlotte bright pink on April 1st as a direct protest at the passing of the law.
Large corporations and performers like Springsteen are not the only ones taking action.
A tourism boycott is currently underway according to reports, with travel companies across the US quietly advising their customers to avoid the state, citing a growing unease over the safety of travellers who may experience a less than friendly welcome and an expected lack of social events and venues worth attending as the boycott grows. With more businesses turning their threats into action, and with more performers and sporting events planning to cancel, tourism is already taking a significant hit.
The 63 date international Springsteen tour began in Pittsburgh on January 16th and will end its American leg in Brooklyn on April 25th before heading to Barcelona, Spain on the May 14th and ending in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 23rd.
For more information about the tour, dates and locations, please visit brucespringsteen.net