The fact that an elected official in North Carolina criticized Bruce Springsteen for canceling an upcoming performance in Greensboro is one thing. The fact that he worked a "Born to Run" pun in there is enough to spike an eyebrow, but that doesn't change the fact that the Boss won't be playing in the Tar Heel State anytime soon.
On April 8, Springsteen said that he couldn't move forward with his upcoming N.C. performance, citing House Bill 2 — the law that prevents transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities that don't align with the gender noted on their birth certificate — as his reason for skipping the show.
From Springsteen's statement: "HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it's an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters."
Mark Walker, a Republican congressman representing portions of Greensboro, doesn't quite grasp Springsteen's logic. "It's disappointing he's not following through on his commitments," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "We've got other artists coming soon — Def Leppard, Justin Bieber ... I've never been a Bieber fan, but I might have to go. Maybe artists who weren't 'born to run' deserve a little bit more support."
Walker went on to say that he considers Springsteen's choice to cancel a "bully tactic. It's like when a kid gets upset and says he's going to take his ball and go home." After further scolding Springsteen for his "vitriol," noting a recent performance of "Fortunate Son" for a taping of The Concert for Valor on HBO, Walker, somehow, upped his tone-deafness through condescension: "I would just like to intellectually explain to Bruce Springsteen the safety aspect of this bill, which is about four pages long. Sometimes people only hear one side of the story."
You just fell all over yourself to work a "Born to Run" joke into a line about Bieber, dude. That's all the intellectualism we need from you.
For a list of Springsteen's current tour dates and his statement in full, click here.