– by Cecily Knobler, our Hollywood insider, sex and relationship advisor and so much more –
It’s no secret there’s a lot going on in American politics. It has been the strangest, silliest circus of an election year in recent decades (or perhaps ever). Individual states are battling to define themselves and their residents, which is tricky because we’ve never been so divided. Most of it comes down to a separation between the rich and the poor and between those with deeply religious views and those who preach progressive acceptance. And of course they all argue who is to blame for the perceived demise of the country. It’s not a pretty picture, to say the least.
But recently, a couple of states have proposed or passed laws that have the whole nation talking. For example, Mississippi is one of the many states in the south to have supported the Religious Freedom Act. (This acts protects private businesses from denying service to customers they claim counter their religious beliefs. For example, a bakery could deny service to a gay couple seeking a wedding cake.) After quite a few celebrities boycotted the state, some Mississippi lawmakers say the economical impact (and ethical questions) have made them re-think the law and some have proposed to repeal it.
This is just one of many examples. North Carolina is now under fire after Governor Patrick McCrory signed the HB2 law, strictly stating that one must use the public bathroom assigned to their gender of birth, not the gender with which they identify. This left many in the transgender (and in the LGBT community overall) fuming.
Economists might tell you that the free market will sort itself out. In other words, if you don’t agree with a business that doesn’t support the LGBT community, then don’t support that business. But some big names and big companies don’t think that’s enough. They are going a step further and basically boycotting the whole state. Here are a few of those people and companies.
The giant company had planned to build a huge warehouse in North Carolina, but after this law passed, PayPal withdrew its plans to make it their headquarters and subsequently removed its proposed 3.6 million-dollar investment. The NC governor has proposed some slight changes to the law protecting transgender people, but civil rights groups claim it’s not enough.
The Boss cancelled a scheduled concert in North Carolina in protest. [Ed. Note: A large number of performers have boycotted the state. Others decided to continue with their shows in order to donate and/or offer support to the LGBT community.]
Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) threatened to pull their business and filming locations from Georgia if they pass the Free Exercise Protection Act, allowing business to discriminate based on religious beliefs. This could cost the state billions of dollars in revenue should Disney pull production.
Note: After Disney set the tone, 20th Century Fox, Time Warner, The Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, A & E Television and many others in the entertainment world followed suit to veto production in Georgia if the law passes.
The NBA and the NFL
Here’s another big one! The National Basketball Association have threatened to remove their 2017 All-Star game from North Carolina and the National Football League could boycott future Super Bowls from taking place in Georgia should their discrimination continue! Again, this could cost the both states billions of dollars.
Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Many Others
Wells Fargo Bank showed their support of the LGBT community by lighting its symbol (a pink triangle) on the side of their building in North Carolina. Bank of America has also signed a petition voicing their urging to repeal HB2. The list keeps growing. Facebook, Google, Apple, Levi Strauss, American Airlines, Uber and many other enormous corporations are adding their support to reverse anti-discrimination bills. If that’s not the free market speaking, I don’t know what is.
Let’s see if this money really talks and can make a change. I have a strong feeling that it will!