Add North Carolina to the list of states whose public policy is being influenced by Hollywood’s heavy hitters. In response to the repeal of an ordinance that would have expanded rights for Charlotte’s LGBT community, Lionsgate has declared that they’ll pull the plug on a TV series for Hulu which was set to shoot in the state’s largest city.
Okay, let’s back up to a Charlotte City Council meeting in February, when local legislators passed an ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use whatever public restroom they wanted. Naturally, there was major outcry, and politicians used the time-tested “perverts will exploit the ordinance to prey on women and children” argument, even if that argument is patently false. At any rate, House Bill 2 was drafted to repeal Charlotte’s expansion of LGBT liberties. It was subsequently passed by the state’s Senate, in spite of widespread Democratic protests.
Then, on March 23, North Carolina’s governor Pat McCreary signed the bill into law. Only then did the full ramifications of the HB2 come into view. Not only did the legislation repeal Charlotte’s bathroom bill, it mandated that all bathrooms statewide were now officially segregated by “biological sex.” To take it a step further, the legislators announced that HB2 would “supercede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, 20 resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political 21 subdivision of the State.” Then, they basically went through every law on the books that governs discrimination and added the word “biological” in front of the word “sex.” Put simply, LGBT anti-discrimination anything in the state was rendered obsolete.
Lionsgate called the bill “deplorable and discriminatory” and pulled the impending production of the Hulu-bound Regina Hall vehicle Crushed, a sitcom about an African-American family’s Napa wine business. Production of that show will move to Canada. Similarly, both the MPAA and Rob Reiner issued statements condemning the bill. It’s another big hit to the state’s dwindling movie income.
Unfortunately for North Carolinians, the damage wrought by HB2 hasn’t been relegated to TV and film industries. On Tuesday, PayPal released a statement in which it decried the legislation and canceled plans for a “new global operations center in Charlotte [that would have employed] over 400 people in skilled jobs.” With each passing day, the tangible impact of McCreary’s legislation takes its toll on both the state’s economy and the citizens of North Carolina themselves.
The adverse effects of HB2 are starting to make Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of similar legislation seem a little more prescient.