RALEIGH, N.C. — An international entertainment company that performs artistic shows about the theory of evolution, imagined goddesses, and other storybook-type fantasies has announced that it is declining to do business in the state of North Carolina due to its beliefs about homosexuality and transgenderism.
Cirque du Soleil (French for “Circus of the Sun”) is a Quebec-based entertainment group that travels the globe to present fantastical performances that “invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions.” As previously reported, since 2010, the company has been regularly offering “Totem,” a presentation that features a storyline based primarily on evolution.
“Totem traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly,” Cirque’s website explains. “The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend Totem explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.”
On Friday, officials with Cirque du Soleil announced that they were declining to do business in the state of North Carolina because of their strongly-held beliefs that conflict with a newly passed law that requires those who use restrooms at government facilities to select the lavatory that correlates with their birth gender.
“Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form. The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all,” the company said in a statement.
“We therefore choose to cancel our scheduled performances of OVO in Greensboro … and our scheduled performances in Charlotte … and our scheduled performances of TORUK–Avatar in Raleigh,” it explained.
Cirque du Soleil explained that the principles and convictions of its owners prohibit the company from doing business in the state, and that its actions were meant to serve as in influence on society.
“Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all. It is a principle that guides us with both our employees and our customers,” the company said. “We behave as change agents to reach our ultimate goal of making a better world with our actions and our productions.”
It offered a refund to those who purchased tickets, stating that it hoped customers would understand the Cirque du Soleil’s motivation.
As previously reported, rocker Bruce Springsteen recently canceled a concert in North Carolina due to his objections to the law.
“I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters,” Springsteen said. “It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
To make a point, a petition was soon launched in support of Springsteen’s right to refuse service because of his beliefs.
“[Springsteen] has that right, and so should every business person,” the petition stated. “He did so, even though he knew it would cause financial harm to those who had non-refundable hotel reservations and non-refundable airline tickets. He did so, even though he knew he was causing financial harm to people who had no control over a decision he disagreed with.”
A pornography site also announced that it was blocking access to North Carolina users last week out of its objection to the legislation, which some applauded as a good result of the law.