Pearl Jam canceled this Wednesday’s (April 20th) concert in Raleigh, North Carolina in protest of the state’s new anti-LGBT law, known officially as HB2 or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. In a statement on the band’s website, the band said, “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.”
The band added, “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.”
- HB2, signed into law late last month by Republican governor Pat McCrory, makes it illegal for transgender men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms in North Carolina. Opponents say that the wording of the law makes widespread discrimination against LGBT citizens in other areas of life, including work and family matters, also legal.
- In addition to Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Ringo Starr and others have canceled shows in North Carolina. Mumford & Sons did play its show there but donated all the profits to local LGBT groups.
- Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder has told us in the past that he finds it difficult but necessary to balance politics and music: [“Well, you don’t like to balance it at all. I’d rather just be an entertainer, but it just seems too important to back down and feel like, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t get into this territory because I want to remain an artist and I don’t want to confuse the people that listen to us or don’t want to turn them off because we’re talking about politics here.’ It’s like you have to act right now. You just have to.”] SOUNDCUE(:20 OC: . . . just have to.)
- Vedder addressed the issue during the band’s show in Hampton, Virginia on Monday night (April 18th), telling the largely appreciative audience, “We had to make a real tough call . . . we thought we could still play and make things right and we could fortify all the people on the ground working to repeal this despicable law.”
- He continued, “We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show but the reality is there is nothing like the immense power like boycotting and putting a strain and it’s a shame because people are going to be affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna effect change . . . “
- Vedder also apologized to fans in Raleigh, people who planned to go to Raleigh for the show, and “to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do.”
- Pearl Jam, who kicked off its current North American tour on April 8th, next plays in Columbia, South Carolina on Thursday (April 21st).
CHECK IT OUT: Watch Eddie Vedder address the North Carolina cancellation in Hampton, Virginia:
- Do you think Pearl Jam was right to boycott the show?
- Whether you agree or disagree with the band’s stance, does it still hurt their fans, local crew members and others who are caught in the crossfire over this?
- Or is boycotting the state and taking money out of it — like other acts and several major companies are doing — the only way to make a point?
INTERNET COMMENTS at Alternative Nation — agree or not?
TonyClifton wrote: “If Pearl Jam want to make a stand in this way that is their right, but people make many plans and it’s more than the cost of the tickets to the show that Im not sure they have calculated in. So do it and make a stand when it occurs, to not only show the definitive protest of such absurd legislation, but it’s also to give ample time to cancel any additional accommodations. I personally think playing the show and donating all proceeds to the causes fighting against this injustice would have been more helpful.”
Katie wrote: “I live in Asheville. I’m mortified to say I live in a state which would pass such legislation. I can understand exactly why Pearl Jam pulled out. Perhaps Eddie gets a bit passionate about his political beliefs, but better they have strong convictions and stand by what they believe in. I for one applaud them.”
Billy wrote: “i’m not against this, i’m happy they did it. I hope more and more bands do this. It’s time for ppl to realize it is 2016 and these old ways of thinking are just so obsolete and repressive.”
cmlukey wrote: “Bye-Bye, PJ. I am boycotting you, forever. These buffoons probably did not even read the law and have no concept of how gender-neutral facilities have endangered women and children.”
thechadmesser wrote: “Statistically speaking, cmlukey, children face a MUCH greater danger of being molested in church or in their own homes than in the restroom with a trans person. The argument that NC is protecting anything other than the votes and prejudices of idiots like you is moronic.