Shortly after announcing Pearl Jam would follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen to cancel their North Carolina show over the state’s anti-LGBT laws, frontman Eddie Vedder made a powerful speech at the band’s Hampton, Virginia show about the decision.
Many artists have cancelled shows over North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill” which discriminates against transgendered people, forcing them to use the gendered bathrooms that matches their gender at birth.
Watch the video in the player above, or read Vedder’s remarks below via Rolling Stone:
“We had to make a real tough call about what we would do about the situation in North Carolina. Because they have a law there that broadly discriminates against a whole group of people. And I can’t tell from here if you are booing North Carolina, if you’re booing us for having to decide that we are not gonna play there. I would understand that too.
It was a hard process because we thought we could still play and make things right and 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 is nothing like the immense power of boycotting and putting a strain and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement so…
So we apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who are 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 gotta be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake and they can fix it.
So tonight we play this one for all the soldiers in the LGBT community.”
Vedder then dedicated the first song in the encore to “soldiers in the LGBT community,” playing Steven Van Zandt’s “I Am a Patriot”.