The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has reported that cancellations events in Wake County have cancelled at a rate four times higher than usual over the past seven days.
The cancellations, which will come as a hit to the North Carolina economy, have been traced to the fallout over the controversial new law HB2. The law passed in March is believed to discriminate against the LGBT community.
The visitors bureau indicated on April 11 that the state would lose $732,000 in business from four different groups cancelling events. On Monday, the News & Observer reported that two additional events have been cancelled. Wake County would suffer the loss of $2.4 million in spending, according to the visitors bureau. This would bring the total losses from six events to $3.1 million, all because of HB2.
All together, the bureau estimates that $28 million in visitor spending is now in jeopardy as a result of cancellations due to HB2, up from an estimate of $24 million last week.
Also in response to HB2, the rock band Boston has followed the example of Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Star by cancelling its three May shows in North Carolina. Cirque du Soliel cancelled shows in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte as well.
— Mic (@micnews) April 15, 2016
Tom Scholz, one of the founders of Boston released a statement on the band’s website condemning HB2 and offering “sincere apologies” for fans who were planning to attend the N.C. shows.
“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,” wrote Scholz.
“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.”
The band Pearl Jam also cancelled its scheduled concert in Raleigh of Wednesday night.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) April 18, 2016
— Cirque du Soleil (@Cirque) April 15, 2016
On April 15, Cyndi Lauper took a different approach to the passing of HB2. She said that she would continue with her June 4 show in Raleigh, but would be donating all of the proceeds to the LGBT rights group Equality North Carolina.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t taken the 2017 All-Star Game completely off the table for Charlotte, however. According to Silver, the NBA would lose its leverage to get HB2 repealed if he cancelled the game now.