April 15, 2016
As in Mississippi, boycotts in North Carolina following anti-LGBTQ law
by Taylor Sperry
Following up on yesterday’s post about Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, there’s also been upheaval in North Carolina, where House Bill 2—aka the “bathroom law,” which similarly limits civil liberties for the LGBTQ community—has recently been signed into law.
In protest, companies likes Deutsche Bank and PayPal have pulled back on plans to open offices in North Carolina; Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert in Greensboro; Sherman Alexie canceled his reading in Asheville; and the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, and New York have restricted “non-essential public-employee travel” to the state.
The American Booksellers Association, however, is urging authors, illustrators, publishers, and readers not to boycott North Carolina bookstores. “The boycott is a powerful weapon that seeks to influence politicians by threatening the economy of a state,” the ABA said in a statement. But a boycott can also harm innocent third parties:
Many independent booksellers opposed HB 2 in the legislature and are actively seeking its repeal. In addition, they have a long history of fighting efforts to censor books with LGBTQ themes . . . The punishment for passing HB 2 should fall on the governor and state legislators, not on booksellers who play a vital role in promoting tolerance and diversity.
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.