GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Cirque du Soleil announced Friday that it will not be performing in North Carolina, canceling seven upcoming OVO shows in Greensboro along with shows in Raleigh and Charlotte.
The decision is in protest to the recent passing of House Bill 2 -- which among other things -- requires transgender people to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.
"It's not just the loss of revenue to the coliseum,” said Mayor Nancy Vaughan. “It's to the people who planned on working those events who aren't going to get those paychecks."
The company said in a statement:
"Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form. The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all."
The announcement comes exactly one week after singer Bruce Springsteen announced plans to cancel his April 10 show at the coliseum.
"There are lots of people who are going to stay in our hotels, who are going to eat in restaurants, and now none of that will occur,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan says she's been reaching out to performers and artists with upcoming shows to try to keep them from canceling.
"What I have been saying to acts and other events is please don't punish us for the actions of the legislature," she said.
Officials with the coliseum say they'll lose an estimated $68,000 from Cirque du Soleil's decision.
Ralph Havis who owns Beef Burger on West Lee Street says he'll be missing out on a lot of money.
"We would have been packed,” Havis said. “The whole parking lot would have been full."
Havis says he usually gets 30 to 40 percent more business when the coliseum has shows.
"It's just a tragedy for everybody," he said.