“Thunder Road” rider Bruce Springsteen has announced that he’s canceling an upcoming show in North Carolina, citing his opposition to a recently passed bill that he says attacks the rights of LGBT citizens. Springsteen joins a growing chorus of voices, including networks like Fox and A&E, which have threatened to bypass the state after the passage of the so-called “bathroom law,” which prohibits people from using a public restroom labeled with a gender other than the one printed on their birth certificate. Major tech companies like PayPal and Apple have also issued statements against the legislation, with PayPal canceling plans to build a new global operations center in the state.
Formally known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, House Bill 2 has drawn harsh censure from many—including Springsteen, who wrote an impassioned statement criticizing the law on his Facebook page. In the statement, he called those who oppose the legislation “freedom fighters,” and wrote, “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.” (Fans on Springsteen’s page seemed largely supportive of the move, if somewhat dismayed at the short widow of time between the cancellation today and the concert’s scheduled date of April 10.)
The fight in North Carolina—and the entertainment industry’s complicated role within it—is reflective of a larger conflict brewing in several states relating to the rights of LGBT people: Georgia governor Nathan Deal recently vetoed similar legislation, for example, after Disney threatened to move its lucrative Marvel movie franchise out of the state.