Pearl Jam Cancel North Carolina Concert To Protest Bathroom Law

Danny Clinch

Pearl Jam Cancel North Carolina Concert To Protest Bathroom Law

Danny Clinch

Pearl Jam are joining musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and Ringo Starr in cancelling shows in North Carolina to protest the state’s discriminatory HB2 legislation, which prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates. Pearl Jam were scheduled to perform in Raleigh on Wednesday, 4/20, but now that’s not happening. “The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens,” the band write in a statement they shared on their website today. “The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound.” Read the full statement below.

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 are also cancelling multiple dates in North Carolina next month, and they’ve shared the following message via Facebook:

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.

~ Tom Scholz

Other artists like Cyndi Lauper, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Buffett, and Mumford & Sons have publicly condemned the bill but decided not to cancel their North Carolina shows. Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, who came out as transgender in 2012, will be playing North Carolina next month as an act of protest.

UPDATE: At Pearl Jam’s show in Hampton, Virginia last night, a few hours after they announced the cancellation, Eddie Vedder delivered a speech explaining the decision. “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 of boycotting and putting a strain,” Vedder said. “And it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement.” Watch or read a full transcript below via Rolling Stone.

We had to make a real tough call about what we would do about the situation in North Carolina. Because they have a law there that broadly discriminates against a whole group of people. And I can’t tell from here if you are booing North Carolina, if you’re booing us for having to decide that we are not gonna play there. I would understand that too.

It was a hard process because 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.

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 of boycotting and putting a strain and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement so…

So we apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who are going to Raleigh, we apologize to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do. They have a reason to be pissed, and we’re pissed off too. But we gotta be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake and they can fix it.

So tonight we play this one for all the soldiers in the LGBT community.

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