Cirque du Soleil has joined the raft of entertainment-industry companies and individuals pressuring South Carolina to repeal recent legislation that is seen by many to be anti-LGBT, with the Canadian nouveau-circus troupe cancelling upcoming N.C. stops for two of its shows, “Ovo” and “Toruk.”
“The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all,” the company said in a statement. “We therefore choose to cancel our scheduled performances.” The company has nixed runs of “Ovo” in Greensboro, set for April 20-24, and in Charlotte July 6-10, as well as an engagement of the “Avatar”-inspired “Toruk” in Raleigh, June 22-26.
North Carolina’s religious freedom bill has stirred controversy in showbusiness circles and beyond. The new state law restricts which restrooms transgender people can use and supersedes local LGBT protections.
Turner has already threatened to boycott North Carolina over the legislation, and tech companies and executives have also condemned it. The MPAA, Lionsgate and Rob Reiner have also expressed opposition in various ways. Earlier this month, Bruce Springsteen cancelled a scheduled concert in Greensboro.
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Ticketsbuyers for Cirque’s North Carolina engagements will get online and phone orders refunded automatically, with box office purchases to be refunded at the point of purchase.
The financial pressure put on North Carolina recalls the moves recently made by the entertainment industry in opposition of similar legislation in Georgia; that bill was eventually vetoed by Georgia’s governor.