Culture Beat / Apr. 13, 2016

Musicians Sing One Song, Play Another

But Margaritaville restaurants and Egyptian tours make money.

Outrage is good for business, at least when it comes to North Carolina and Mississippi passing culturally conservative laws — a bathroom bill and religious liberty law, respectively. How else to explain the hypocritical boycotts singers Jimmy Buffett and Bryan Adams mustered in response to the recent laws?

Big businesses already have been bullying these and other states. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed his state’s religious liberty bill because of pressure from big businesses like Disney, Apple and the NFL. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order Tuesday he hoped would appease the corporate critics of his state’s newly minted bathroom law — critics like PayPal — by bolstering the protections of homosexual and transgendered state employees against termination. (Even the Navy moved a ceremony out of Mississippi over the law.)

But singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett announced that performing any shows in North Carolina “would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed.” Meanwhile, fellow entertainer Bryan Adams said he was going to stay out of Mississippi. Canceling a show scheduled for this Thursday in the state, Adams wrote on his website: “I cannot in good conscience perform in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation.”

Naturally, hypocrisy abounds. Buffett’s restaurant chain, Margaritaville, has the same bathroom policies as North Carolina. When a half-dozen of the franchise’s locations were asked if they allow men to use women’s restrooms, they all said no.

Before canceling his Mississippi performance, Adams had just wrapped up a tour through Egypt, which, along with the rest of the Muslim world, is notorious for punishment of (even alleged) homosexuals. But Margaritaville restaurants and Egyptian tours make money. So does canceling shows in Mississippi and North Carolina.

(Updated.)

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