Pearl Jam, Boston cancel North Carolina shows over transgender law

Image: Members of the band Pearl Jam (L-R), Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron, Eddie Vedder, and Jeff Ament of the film “Pearl Jam Twenty” pose during the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, September 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch


(Reuters) – U.S. rock bands Pearl Jam and Boston have cancelled shows in North Carolina over a new state law they call discriminatory against transgender people, the groups said on Monday.

The cancellations make the bands the latest entertainment acts to take a stance against the measure, known as House Bill 2.

“The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens,” Pearl Jam, a pioneering grunge rock group, said in a handwritten statement posted on its Facebook page.

Pearl Jam had a Wednesday concert scheduled in Raleigh, the state capital. Boston, which had its greatest success in the 1970s and 1980s, had been set for three shows next month in the state.

North Carolina last month became the first state to require transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms in schools and other public facilities that correspond with their birth gender instead of the gender with which they identify.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, rocker Bruce Springsteen and performance group Cirque du Soleil have cancelled North Carolina shows to protest the law. More than 160 business executives have signed a Human Rights Campaign letter pushing for it to be repealed.

In Tennessee, a similar measure in the state legislature was pulled on Monday by its sponsor in the House of Representatives, Republican Susan Lynn, for further study, the Tennessean newspaper reported.

Lynn said controversy over the legislation, which has drawn threats by some companies to withhold business from the state, was not a factor in her decision, the Tennessean reported. She was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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