The entertainment behemoth will oppose discriminatory laws in North Carolina

By Marc Snetiker
April 15, 2016 at 06:49 PM EDT
Brian Rasic/WireImage

Legendary performance troupe Cirque du Soleil has joined the ranks of other artists and organizations (like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Lionsgate, A&E, and even porn company xHamster) who are canceling their appearances in North Carolina to oppose the state’s anti-LGBT discrimination laws.

The Quebec-based organization — which boasts close to 4,000 employees and is one of the world’s largest theatrical entertainment companies — issued a statement to press detailing the group’s decision to cancel performances in North Carolina:

“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form. The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all. We therefore choose to cancel our scheduled performances of OVO in Greensboro (April 20-24) and our scheduled performances in Charlotte (July 6-10) and our scheduled performances of TORUK – Avatar in Raleigh (June 22-26). 

Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all.  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. 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.”

The contemporary circus troupe joins what has now become a long list of entertainers and organizations who have stood up to North Carolina’s HB2 legislation, which revokes rights of LGBT citizens and eliminates certain protections to people who claim discrimination based on their race, religion, age, handicap, nationality, and sex.

While Cirque du Soleil, Springsteen, and Starr have canceled shows, for instance, others like Joel McHale and Cyndi Lauper have performed but used their programs to raise awareness and advocate for LGBT rights and a repeal of the law.