Henry Rollins has penned an op-ed slamming North Carolina politicians, especially the state’s governor Patrick McCrory, for passing the controversial HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill.” In the LA Weekly column titled “North Carolina, I Love You, But Your Governor Is an Asshole,” the former Black Flag singer railed against McCrory’s “thick-skulled, cracker logic.”
“House Bill 2 is much more than just the ‘bathroom bill’ that it’s being characterized as. It actually prevents avenues of state government from including LGBT people in previous protections. For private-sector bigots, it is now open season,” Rollins wrote. “It seems like a long way to go to please a handful of hicks, but obviously the governor was losing sleep over all those poor homophobes shaking in their boots as to who is in the stall next to them, and he took action.”
Rollins noted that when artists like Bruce Springsteen cancel North Carolina concerts in order to protest the bill, it brings much-needed attention to the fight against the “bigotry” and forces McCrory to reconsider the bill “as money big and small either leaves the state or goes around it.”
“Bruce Springsteen’s reputation, as far as I can see, is unimpeachable. His statement coming from a less well-known artist would be all well and good but would carry only a fraction of the weight,” Rollins wrote. “Springsteen made Gov. McCrory all kinds of famous. I was being charitable using the governor’s name. The truth is that no one cares what his name is. He will be dimly remembered as the asshole who signed that fucked-up bill that embarrassed the majority of North Carolinians.”
However, Rollins added, “While I have nothing but respect for Bruce Springsteen, I wish he had not canceled the show. I wish he had spoken to the thousands of people who were there about what had just happened to the greatness of their state, then told them where he was donating all that money. The cancellation, in a way, allows McCrory to end the conversation, which I think should be just beginning. In any case, you can’t mess with Springsteen, so if that’s the way he saw to go, that’s cool.”
Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and Boston are just some of the artists who have canceled North Carolina concerts until McCrory fully repeals the HB2. Other acts – like Mumford & Sons, Cyndi Lauper, Alabama Shakes and Father John Misty – have carried on with North Carolina shows, with proceeds from those gigs benefitting organizations in the state actively fighting the bill.
Rollins noted that he has long loved “beautiful” North Carolina dating back to his childhood spending summers in the Tarheel State and through his days in a broke band on the road (“Not only were there plenty of college-town venues to play in, but the people were incredibly friendly and would let you sleep on their floors.”) Rollins also named Asheville’s Orange Peel as one of his favorite venues.
“Judging from the people of the state I have met over almost 50 years, I can’t believe they are pleased with House Bill 2. They probably are wondering how they got to where they are now,” Rollins wrote. “I want North Carolina to reap an LGBT whirlwind. More shows, more light, more heat, more volume — just more.”