Pearl Jam cancels North Carolina concert in protest at anti-LGBT law

Singer Eddie Vedder said: ‘We just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross the picket line’

 

Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 19 April 2016 17:30
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Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam told fans the decision was not an easy one
Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam told fans the decision was not an easy one

Pearl Jam and Boston have both canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest against one of the most discriminatory and sweeping anti-LGBT laws that has been passed in the US in recent history.

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, hours after announcing the boycott, told a concert crowd in Virginia that deciding not to go to North Carolina was “a hard process”.

“We thought we could still play and make things right, and fortify all the people working to repeal the despicable law,” he told the audience.

“We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show. But the reality is there’s nothing like the immense power of boycotting,” he added.

The band Boston, who hit the bigtime with song "More Than A Feeling", has also announced it will not visit the state, on the same day as Mr Vedder announced his decision.

On his website, musician Tom Scholz said that “human rights are more important” than the concern he felt about letting down fans.

Republican governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, or the “bathroom bill”, into law last month, which legalizes discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

So-called law "HB2" also specifically mandates transgender people to use the bathroom of their birth gender, rather than the bathroom of their natural and desired gender.

“We just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement,” said Mr Vedder.

He apologized to fans and to the locals in Raleigh who might share their views about the law.

“We’re pissed off too,” he said. ”But we’ve got to be pissed off at the right people, and get them to change their minds, because they’ve made a mistake. A big mistake.“

He dedicated one of his songs, a cover of Steven Van Zandt's “I Am A Patriot”, to “all the soldiers and the LGBT community”.

Various artists have boycotted North Carolina since the anti-LGBT law was passed, including Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Cirque du Soleil and the E Street Band.

Canadian rocker Bryan Adams also cancelled his gig in Mississippi in protest over the state’s new and controversial “religious liberty” law, which permits some private businesses and religious groups to refuse service to gay people.

Cindy Lauper announced, however, that she will still play in North Carolina on 4 June but will donate all of the proceeds to a group which promotes equality in an effort to repeal the law.

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