Bruce Springsteen to North Carolina: No Rock for You

In response to the state’s anti-LGBT law, the Boss turns off the music.

Bruce Springsteen performs on stage at The Oracle Arena on March 13, 2016, in Oakland, California.imageSPACE/AP

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Add Bruce Springsteen to the growing list of people who are not fans of North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law. On Friday, just two days before a scheduled show in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Boss announced that he was canceling his appearance in a gesture of protest against the legislation.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and [the] fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them,” the rock star wrote in a short statement on his website. “[Canceling the show] is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

Springsteen described the law as “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.”

North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, known as HB-2, sailed into law two weeks ago. It is best known for striking down all LGBT nondiscrimination statutes across the state and for requiring transgender people to use public restrooms according to the gender listed on their birth certificate. But as ProPublica‘s Nina Martin has reported, the bill’s language also bars workers in the state from suing under a key North Carolina anti-discrimination law, meaning its impact could be even broader than expected.

Here is Springsteen’s statement in full:

“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.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s Sunday April 10th show is canceled. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.”

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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