GREENBORO, N.C. – Bruce Springsteen has cancelled his concert in Greensboro on Sunday because of North Carolina’s controversial new LGBT bill.
The legendary musician released the following statement on Friday:
As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. 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. 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. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. 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.
More than 15,000 concert tickets were sold, according to Andrew Brown, Public Relations Manager for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Ticketholders will be eligible for a refund.
Greensboro Coliseum officials have estimated a loss of $100,000 in net revenue due to the cancelled Springsteen concert, according to Mayor Vaughan. The Coliseum is not commenting further on the issue.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the cancellation is “bad for Greensboro” and could have an impact on other acts they are currently in negotiations with.
“I don’t think they thought through all of the unintended consequences, not even the economic consequences but the social consequences,” Mayor Vaughan said.
Gov. Pat McCrory recently signed the bill, called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, after it was passed by the North Carolina Senate.
The law was in response to Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance that allowed transgender individuals to use public bathrooms of the sex with which they identify.
The bill blocks transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity and stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.
The April 10th concert would have marked Springsteen’s ninth appearance at Greensboro Coliseum.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band own two of the 11 largest concert crowds in Greensboro Coliseum history – a crowd of 19,271 on Nov. 16, 2002 (10th largest all-time) and 18,431 on May 2, 2009 (11th largest).
In addition, they played a two-night stand (Jan. 18-19, 1985) in Greensboro in which they performed for more than 30,000 fans.
North Carolina GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse released the following statement about the cancellation:
“This is bizarre. The Greensboro Coliseum has men’s restrooms, women’s restrooms and presumably family restrooms. The policy passed by the General Assembly, rolled back the radical change in bathroom policy, by the Charlotte City Council and maintained the status quo. For years young girls have safely used the restrooms at ACC Tournament games and other events at the Greensboro Coliseum separated from grown men. The legislature and Governor simply secured the long standing common policy of safety and security and privacy.”
Senate leader Phil Berger’s spokeswoman also released the following statement:
“Bruce Springsteen’s concert would have been the perfect forum to explain his support for allowing men to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, and it’s unfortunate that he instead chose to cancel on his loyal fans at the last minute. The previous three states he held concerts in, along with the next two states, do not include protections for gender identity or sexual orientation in their state laws, so it will be interesting to see if he cancels his next performances.”
The “Born in the U.S.A” and “Dancing in the Dark” singer, known by many as “The Boss,” plays his next show Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.
PayPal also announced earlier this week it canceled plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte because of the bill, costing the state 400 future jobs.