The British band Duran Duran, known for hits such as "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Come Undone," took a break during their Charlotte, N.C., show Saturday night to speak out against a state law permitting discrimination against LGBT people.
On Thursday, the group released a statement, calling House Bill 2"just plain old fashioned prejudice, fear and oppression, the same old kind that's blighted the human race, in varying degrees, for all of its history."
The law was passed in March and nullifies LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances, while preventing cities and counties from enacting new ones. It also bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that match their gender identity, if those facilities are in government buildings, including public schools. And it prohibits residents from filing discrimination suits in state court.
Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon told fans Saturday that the band had "considered canceling" the show, but decided to go forth to "support those in North Carolina who feel as strongly as we do about this issue." Le Bon read from a pink sheet of paper onstage as an enormous rainbow flag in the style of the U.S. flag appeared on screen behind him.
Le Bon called HB 2 "just plain old-fashioned prejudice, fear, and oppression -- the same old kind that's blighted humanity in varying degrees for all of its history."
"Duran Duran is opposed to bigotry and discrimination in all of its ugly forms, and so it follows that we are opposed to the basic premise of HB 2," Le Bon said. "We support the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. ... We support their right to have equal opportunities. We support their right to live happy, free, fulfilled lives."
The band encouraged fans who support LGBT rights to register to vote and sign a petition against the bill. Le Bon invited a member of Equality North Carolina to the stage as they signed the petition. He said the document that will be presented at a meeting of the state General Assembly April 25.
The crowd cheered as Le Bon said, "You have the power to repeal this outdated and cruel legislation!"
Le Bon went on explain how this law will harm LGBT North Carolinians. "Under this law, it's now legal for a private business in North Carolina to fire somebody simply because they are gay. That's like saying, 'You can't come to the concert today because you've got red hair.' It's simply outrageous!"
Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr have canceled concerts in North Carolina following the passage of HB 2. Others have chosen to perform but donated profits to local LGBT organizations.
Following Le Bon's statement, the band played their 1982 hit "Save a Prayer."
Watch a video of Duran Duran in North Carolina, below.