- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pearl Jam on Monday canceled a concert scheduled for this Wednesday in Raleigh and joined the list of Grammy Award winning rock acts who won’t play in North Carolina on account of a newly enacted state law that rolls back gay and transgender rights.

“It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th,” the band announced in a statement released barely 48 hours before they were slated to take the stage at the PNC Arena in the state capitol.

The legendary grunge group explained that their decision to cancel the show was in direct response to HB2, a law passed last month that forces transgender people to use bathrooms that differ from their gender identity, and also prohibits municipalities from establishing anti-discrimination laws that provide protections for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans.

“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,” the band said in a statement.

“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.”

Pearl Jam’s decision to boycott North Carolina comes on the heels of similar announcement made recently by fellow Grammy Award winners Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, who both decided to abandon plans for concerts there in the wake of the law’s passage.

Shortly after Pearl Jam announced that the Raleigh show had been canceled, lead singer Eddie Vedder dedicated a song during the band’s Monday night performance in Hampton, Virginia, “to all the soldiers in the LGBT community,” but not before he offered further explanation as to why the band walked away from Wednesday’s gig on such short notice.

“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,” Mr. Vedder said.

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

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