Performance troupe Cirque du Soleil has canceled performances in three North Carolina cities in protest over a new law banning anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people, the Canadian-based company announced Friday.
The entertainers join Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and others who have canceled shows in the state after Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law.
“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form,” reads a statement from Cirque du Soleil. “The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all.”
The growing backlash against the law also includes companies such as PayPal, which announced last week it was nixing plans to open a facility in Charlotte. McCrory has since signed an executive order to expand protections for state employees but left the most controversial elements of the law in place.
Transgender people are prohibited from using bathrooms designated for genders that don’t match the genders on their birth certificates, under the new law. The measure also prevents local governments from passing anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.
Cirque du Soleil performances scheduled in Greensboro later this month, in Charlotte during July and Raleigh in June, have all been canceled. Customers who bought tickets online or over the phone will be automatically reimbursed, while those who bought tickets in person can return to vendors for refunds.
“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,” reads a statement from the company. “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.”
This story has been updated and corrected. It originally said the North Carolina law prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t match their gender assigned at birth; it has been updated to note that the law mentions gender listed on birth certificates, not assigned at birth.