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What's on Tap

Cirque du Soleil latest to cancel NC shows in protest of HB2

Posted April 15

— Renowned acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil said Friday that it is canceling all of its shows in North Carolina because of the state's new law setting discrimination policy.

"Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form," the troupe said in a statement, calling the North Carolina law "an important regression to ensuring human rights for all."

House Bill 2, which was signed into law last month after a one-day special session of the legislature requires people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates, excludes gays and transgender people from protections against employment and public accommodations discrimination and bars cities and counties from extending such protections to them.

Cirque du Soleil was scheduled to perform its OVO show in Greensboro April 20-24 and Charlotte July 6-10 and perform its TORUK – Avatar show in Raleigh June 22-26. Tickets bought online or over the phone will be refunded immediately, while in-person purchases must be returned to where they were bought for a refund.

"Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all. It is a principle that guides us with both our employees and our customers. We behave as change agents to reach our ultimate goal of making a better world with our actions and our productions," the troupe said. "We sincerely hope that the customers that have purchased tickets for our performances in North Carolina will understand our motivation and we look forward to performing in North Carolina when this issue is addressed."

Davin Olsen, general manager of PNC Arena in Raleigh, said he couldn't estimate the loss from the cancelation.

"It’s a significant impact any time you lose a show. There is revenue attached to that, but I can’t quantify that right now," Olsen said.

A Cirque du Soleil spokesperson told WRAL News that an estimated $68,000 will be lost due to the cancelation in Greensboro.

Other performers, from Bruce Springsteen to Ringo Starr to Ani DeFranco, have also canceled performances in North Carolina because of the law.

Cirque du Soleil is the first HB2-related cancelation PNC Arena has seen, Olsen said.

"It’s unfortunate for the patrons that had bought tickets, but we have to respect the decision," he said. "Ultimately, it affects everyone who was working the show, coming to the show or had planned to be at the show. It’s disappointing, to say the least."

Chad Beltz, manager of Rudinos Sports Corner, said he's disappointed that the restaurant won't be able to benefit from the shows in town.

"Our business doubles during the evening if there is an event versus no event. [It] probably more than doubles," he said. "It's a shame that business, shows are leaving North Carolina because of the law."

Beltz said he worries more cancelations could be announced in North Carolina.

"I don't think it's going to be a positive thing," he said. "I think only negative can be drawn from it."


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  • Amanda Townsend Apr 19, 9:55 a.m.
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    I didn't look anything up. I am a pretty avid sports fan and have a friend who worked for Tampa Bay Rays for a while and then moved back here to work for a team here. He gave some Rays stuff to the boys in my son's scout group.

    Nonetheless, it is cowardly to stand behind a fake name. That's why WRAL enacted the Facebook rule.

  • Elizabeth Hawkins Apr 17, 11:12 p.m.
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    Then Christian Knott, I suggest you move to a place that appeals to your needs. Bye! Bye! Birdie!

  • Elizabeth Hawkins Apr 17, 11:10 p.m.
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    Let them go....all of them. We stand our ground and make a statement. One day, we will prevail.

  • Janet Ghumri Apr 17, 8:42 p.m.
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    Throwing a spotlight on the HB2 issue has been a good thing.
    The way it was slipped through and signed in a unconventional (read: underhanded) way, that just doesn't sit right, and that alone has a lot of the fine citizens of NC concerned. Now, seeing the losses to the state thus far, that should have even more of us concerned.
    While our personal stand points obviously vary, I feel that the issue has been made into a powder keg by not following standard protocol, and allowing our citizens proper time to voice our concerns and debate the pros and cons.
    It's not my place to judge my fellow man, and my personal feelings aside, this whole process has been a bit of dirty politics.

  • Christian Knott Apr 17, 4:42 p.m.
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    you know what is "HYPOCRITICAL" sir? Some baker or photographer sitting back denying a gay couple service because " it's in the bible", yet having NO PROBLEMS whatsoever serving drunks, adulterers, divorced people, etc. From what I see ( and from what MANY others see as well obviously) The NC law is just about hate against gays, period. Pot, meet kettle!

  • Sam Nada Apr 17, 3:32 p.m.
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    There's so much serious hypocrisy in the world singling out this one group to belittle their stance against HB2 seems desperate and pathetic. But those opinions are irrelevant, because they have increased the negative publicity the law deserves, and have done the citizens of NC a service. I think you'd be served to review your teachings about the log in your own eye.

  • John Townsend Apr 17, 3:22 p.m.
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    I don't applaud them for performing in countries that persecute gays, in fact, I think they be constant and call off all shows in any location that has similar or worse LGBT policies than NC. They are being hypocritical.

    Since everyone is a sinner, all money for a church comes from sinners. A better comparison to what cirque is doing would be a church that opposes game of chance then using BINGO nights to raise funds.

    I'm not saying you should not praise Cirque for doing something you agree with but you should be able to recognize that they are being hypocritical by not canceling all shows anywhere with worse LGBT policies than NC.

  • Sam Nada Apr 17, 9:41 a.m.
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    I would think you'd be applauding them for performing in countries that persecute gays. That's what your religion dictates, isn't it? Do you ridicule sinners who contribute to your church? CdS are contributing to a good cause and making a sacrifice to do it. Why would I criticize them for that?

  • Charlie Watkins Apr 17, 5:33 a.m.
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    If we had passed this way back when maybe the carpetbaggers would never have come.

  • Christian Knott Apr 17, 4:22 a.m.
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    Yawn, won't YOU be surprised to stand before Shiva or Allah sitting on the "throne of god"! People always tell atheists " what if you are wrong?" Well what if YOU are wrong and you picked the wrong religion? One of the Rudest things that people do is lay claim that others will be punished by Their god. silliness.