Eddie Vedder calls NC bathroom law ‘despicable,’ says state made ‘big mistake’

(Photo Courtesy: CBS News)

HAMPTON, Va. (WNCN) – Hours after Pearl Jam canceled its Raleigh concert at PNC Arena, lead singer Eddie Vedder talked about the group’s decision during their concert Monday night in Hampton, Virginia.

In a video posted on YouTube, Vedder talks about North Carolina’s House Bill 2 in between songs, telling concert goers that the law discriminates against an entire group of people.

Related: Pearl Jam cancels Raleigh concert; lost revenue from HB2 fallout rises

You can hear fans booing in the video.

“I can’t tell from here if you’re booing North Carolina or if you’re booing us for having to decide that we’re not going to play there,” Vedder said.

Vedder continued to explain the band decision to cancel their Wednesday night show in Raleigh.

“It was a hard process. We really thought if we could still play and make things right and that we could fortify all the people on the ground working to repeal this despicable law, we thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show, but the reality is, there’s nothing like the immense power of boycotting,” Vedder said.
Vedder said he hoped the band’s decision would prompt change.

“We just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line,” Vedder told the crowd.

With a mix of cheers and boos during his speech, Vedder apologized to their fans in Raleigh.

“We apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who were going to Raleigh, we apologize to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do. They have a reason to be pissed and we’re pissed off too. But we’ve got to be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake.”

In response to Pearl Jam’s cancellation, the North Carolina Republican Party issued a release calling the band’s move hypocritical.

Pearl Jam is touring in six states with non-discrimination laws similar to North Carolina’s, NCGOP spokesman Ricky Diaz said in the release.

The Seattle-based band has also played in Singapore. LGBT relationships are banned there and punishable by as much as two years in prison.

Pearl Jam is just one of many musicians canceling shows in North Carolina over HB2. Bruce Springsteen canceled his Greensboro show and Boston canceled their three North Carolina shows in May.

Cyndi Lauper and Mumford & Sons chose to play in North Carolina, turning their concerts into rallies and giving the proceeds from their shows to help repeal the law.

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