Bruce Springsteen (Pic: Bill Ebbesen)
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has shown his support for the LGBT community by refusing to perform in the state of North Carolina.
The star announced on Friday that he’d cancelled Sunday’s show in the city of Greensboro in protest against the state’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law.
Springsteen described the legislation 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”.
The controversial law removes existing municipal LGBT non-discrimination protections in the state and prevents similar protections from being passed by cities in the future.
It also forces transgender students in public schools and universities as well as people in state buildings to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.
“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,” insisted Springsteen in a statement.
He apologised for disappointing his fans but said that the cancellation was “the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards”.
It’s estimated that the cancellation will cost the local economy $100,000.
One of the congressman for Greensboro, Republican Mark Walker, criticised the performer and called him a bully.
“Bruce is known to be on the radical left,” Walker told the Hollywood Reporter, “and he’s got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic. It’s like when a kid gets upset and says he’s going to take his ball and go home.”
The congressman said that he now plans to go to concerts lined up by other artists in the city, including Justin Bieber.
“I’ve never been a Bieber fan, but I might have to go. Maybe artists who weren’t ‘born to run’ deserve a little bit more support,” he said.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin praised Springsteen as a “hero and an icon because he gives voice, both through his music and his advocacy, to those who struggle against injustice and equality”.
“It means so much that he has spoken out against this hateful bill on behalf of thousands of citizens whose rights and fundamental dignity are being trampled by the leadership of North Carolina,” said Griffin.