Cirque de Soleil has canceled its scheduled North Carolina performances in Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh, adding its brand-name heft to the growing protest against the state’s HB2 legislation that restricts bathroom access for transgender people and prohibits local anti-discrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation.
The Quebec-based Cirque joins an expanding list of high-profile entertainers canceling gigs in the state, including Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr. Bryan Adams nixed an appearance in Biloxi, Mississippi, for similar reasons.
Pro basketball, though, isn’t moving so quickly. Despite an outcry from some politicians, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said today that the All-Star Game set for February 17 in Charlotte is still on. “The current state of the law is problematic for the league. But we’re not making any announcements now,” Silver said following the league’s board of governors meetings in New York. “We can be most constructive by working with elected officials to effect change.”
Despite the for-now decision, Silver said the board of governors stands “united against any form of discrimination.”
Cirque du Soleil is taking the different tack.
“Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all,” read a statement issued by the New Age circus and musical performance group, a global operation with venues around the world and a massive audience base. “It is a principle that guides us with both our employees and our customers. We behave as change agents to reach our ultimate goal of making a better world with our actions and our productions. Cirque’s first Broadway show, Paramour, begins previews tomorrow at the Lyric Theatre.
“We sincerely hope that the customers that have purchased tickets for our performances in North Carolina will understand our motivation and we look forward to performing in North Carolina when this issue is addressed.” Ticket purchases will be reimbursed, Cirque says.
Additionally, Cirque called the HB2 legislation “an important regression to ensuring human rights for all.” The canceled performances had been set for Greensboro (April 20-24), Raleigh (June 22-26) and Charlotte (July 6-10).
On Wednesday, Ringo Starr canceled a June 18 concert in Cary, North Carolina, in a statement that read: “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. All you need is love.”