Pearl Jam, Boston join growing list of musicians protesting North Carolina law

Add Pearl Jam and Boston to the list of musicians who have cancelled concerts scheduled in North Carolina over protest of the state’s new Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.

The law, which was passed in late March, prohibits cities from expanding on current state discrimination laws and sets a definition of who is protected from discrimination, protecting people from being discriminated based on race, religion, handicap, age, national origin, color, or biological sex but does not include sexual orientation. The law also doesn’t limit private business from adopting their own non-discrimination policies about employees or customers, and it also requires that transgender people who have not had surgery to change their gender and have not legally changed their gender as noted on their birth certificates must use public restrooms of their birth gender rather than the one with which they identify.

The law has drawn widespread criticism from figures in government, entertainment, sports, and business. On Monday, Pearl Jam released a statement announcing the cancellation of a show this week in Raleigh due to the law. The statement reads as follows:

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It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.

This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation.

The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.

It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.

We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.

In the meantime we will be watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return.

Perhaps even celebrate.

With immense gratitude for your understanding,

Pearl Jam

Boston founder Tom Scholz announced the cancellation of three upcoming shows in a statement on the band’s web site:

While the enjoyment of our fans is our central concern, and we have been looking forward to celebrating forty years of history performing for our listeners in North Carolina with spectacular live shows this spring, human rights are more important. It is with deep regret, that I must announce the cancellation of our upcoming shows on May 4, 5 & 6 in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh in order to raise awareness, and protest in the strongest terms, the recent passage of HB2, the so called “North Carolina bathroom law.”

HB2 has the appearance of an oppressive discriminatory law against a small minority, who already have to deal with a narrow-minded world regarding issues beyond their control which they did nothing to bring upon themselves. Other aspects of the new law arguably encourage bigotry. With thousands of fans in attendance at our shows, it is likely that some members of our audience and/or their loved ones are affected on a daily basis by this ugly expression of intolerance.

My sincere apologies to our fans who have already made arrangements to attend these shows. The removal of the shows from our schedule is a major disappointment. It has always been my wish to inspire people with BOSTON’s music. Hopefully the sacrifices we are all making here will inspire people to do the right thing in the future. We look forward to the day that the state government of North Carolina will come to its senses and treat ALL individuals with equal freedom in their pursuit of happiness here in the United States.

Others to have cancelled shows over the law include Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Ringo Starr, and Ani DiFranco. Multiple states, counties, and cities have issued travel bans in response to the law, while companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM, Dow Chemical, Marriott, Lowe’s, Twitter, Facebook, American Airlines, and Wells Fargo have been among those to publicly denounce the law.

Photo credit: By Lugnuts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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