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The governor bashes The Boss – and gets it wrong

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performs at the Los Angeles Sports Arena last month.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performs at the Los Angeles Sports Arena last month. Getty Images

Gov. Pat McCrory got a lot off his beleagured chest Tuesday on the John Boy & Billy show. Good for him. It’s been a rough stretch trying to explain to everyone why he signed an anti-LGBT law that’s doing deep damage to his state.

The governor didn’t exactly talk about HB 2 that way, of course. Instead, for about 15 frothing minutes, he decided to go after some of the people who’ve disagreed with him about the law.

That includes FOX News host Megyn Kelly, Meet the Press, PayPal, the Human Rights Commission (“They’re Machiavellian, man”) and the Charlotte Observer, which he said “recommended a boycott, like games boycotting Charlotte.”

(The editorial board never said that, by the way. We think the governor might be talking about a column I wrote about whether companies and performers are hypocritical when they boycott North Carolina. In that column, I explained how many of us don’t like boycotts because they hurt a lot of people, but that if the NBA decides to move the game, it’s also the right thing because it could prompt changes that might help our state in the long term.)

McCrory also insisted the HRC makes the National Rifle Association look weak – despite the NRA having a budget that’s about 10 times bigger – and he said companies make a mistake when they get involved in politics. We’re pretty sure he doesn’t complain when businesses donate to his campaign.

But McCrory saved one of his sharpest jabs for Bruce Springsteen, who along with PayPal gave the boycott movement legs by canceling a concert last month in Greensboro.

Said McCrory:

“I love Bruce Springsteen. But he canceled a concert in Greensboro. By the way, they only had 8,000 tickets sold with all respect. [LAUGHTER FROM HOSTS] Bruce doesn’t mention that. They didn’t quite get the tickets sales they wanted, might have had something to do with it.”

Not exactly. Doug Clark, editorial writer at the News & Record in Greensboro, caught up with Greensboro Coliseum spokesman Andrew Brown Tuesday. Brown says the Springsteen concert was pretty much sold out, with 15,000 tickets purchased and fewer than a hundred remaining when the Boss pulled out.

So no, the Boss didn’t cancel for the reasons the governor suggests. But hey, we all get things wrong sometimes. We hope McCrory goes back on John Boy & Billy pronto to correct things for their nationwide audience. Otherwise, that’s Machiavellian, man.

Peter St. Onge

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