In the two months since Gov. Pat McCrory signed off on a controversial LGBT law, Cirque de Soleil, Nick Jonas/Demi Lovato and Maroon 5 have all canceled their Charlotte shows in the Time Warner Cable Arena in opposition to the measure.
Executives who run the arena won’t give a dollar figure on the economic impact of the lost shows. But Charlotte Hornets president Fred Whitfield this week said the cancellations “have a direct impact on our ability to operate our business.”
Under an agreement with the City of Charlotte, the Hornets operate the arena and schedules concerts and other events. The team is allowed to keep operating profits but must also absorb losses if they don’t have enough events.
“As stewards of Time Warner Cable Arena, our goal is to bring a wide variety of world-class entertainment to our building, so we are clearly disappointed by these cancellations,” Whitfield told the Observer. “However, we do understand and respect that the performers who come to our venue are entitled to their opinions and to make decisions based on their views.”
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The cancellations “negatively affect the economies of the City of Charlotte and the State of North Carolina,” he added.
Whitfield said that the team hopes all parties involved will be able to resolve the situation “as soon as possible.”
Whitfield’s comments come as the NBA weighs the possibility of moving the NBA All-Star Game, which is scheduled to be played in Charlotte next year. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last month that North Carolina’s “problematic” LGBT law must be changed in order to keep the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan has told the Observer that the organization is “opposed to discrimination in any form, and we have always sought to provide an inclusive environment.”
Elsewhere in the state, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and Boston have also canceled shows because they oppose the measure. Others, like Mumford and Sons and Dave Matthews Band, have decided to keep their N.C. shows but donate ticket profits to nonprofit groups that support the LGBT community.
House Bill 2, which overturned a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance, requires transgender people in government facilities to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate. It also sets statewide categories of protected classes under nondiscrimination laws that exclude sexual orientation and gender identity.