Bruce Springsteen Cancels Show in North Carolina Over Passage of HB2 'Bathroom' Law

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is about to start a book tour to promote his autobiography, "Born to Run." Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Late last month, the North Carolina state legislature called a special session to prevent its cities from granting special protection to gay and transgender citizens. In February, Charlotte passed a measure protecting LGBT rights, and the state government drafted a bill to supercede its capital city before the anti-discrimination measure went into effect. At the center of the debate is whether transgender people should be able to use restrooms of the gender to which they identify. Charlotte feels they should be afforded this right; the state doesn't, and because of the HB2 law signed at the special session, whatever the state says goes.

Celebrities, civil rights leaders and even Charles Barkley have spoken out in opposition to the bill, but the latest big name to voice his displeasure may be the loudest. On Friday afternoon, Bruce Springsteen announced the cancelation of his concert in Greensboro scheduled for Sunday. Here's Springsteen's full statement, which he posted to his Facebook page.

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.

We're not sure any state in the union can survive an out-and-out boycott by the Boss, much less the other entertainers, businesses and organizations that are sure to follow his example should the bill remain in effect.