Viacom, Netflix Criticize Anti-Gay Laws as North Carolina's Governor Attempts Damage Control

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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory has issued an executive order in response to boycotts from businesses like Paypal over controversial House Bill 2.

While the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD joined with Viacom and Netflix to protest laws considered anti-gay, North Carolina's Gov. Pat McCrory issued an executive order in an attempt to address the controversy swirling around his state.

North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which McCrory signed March 23, said that individuals must use the public bathrooms assigned to their biological sex, and it also said only the state, and not towns or cities, could pass anti-discrimination laws. The new law effectively invalidated a new local ordinance in Charlotte that provided legal protections for LGBT.

Critics of the new state law have called for its appeal and begun exerting pressure on the state. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro last week, and Paypal said it would not open a new operations center in Charlotte, costing the state 400 jobs. And Michael Moore announced Tuesday on Twitter that he’s asked his distributor not to book his new film Where to Invade Next in any theater in North Carolina “due to their bigoted law against LGBTQ ppl.”

Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the ACLU of North Carolina have filed a lawsuit against the bill, alleging it violates the constitutional guarantee of legal protection.

In issuing an executive order, McCrory said there had been “a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, a lot of passion, and frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy” directed at North Carolina and the new law. “I am taking action to affirm and improve the state’s commitment to privacy and equality,” he said.

The executive order, which the governor characterized as “common sense solutions to complex problems,” reiterates that individuals must use the public restrooms assigned to their biological sex, but says that the private sector can establish its own restroom policies. It also extended the state’s equal employment policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, said that local governments and private businesses have the right to establish their own non-discrimination policy and seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.

It was not immediately clear how the executive order would impact what appear to be conflicting provisions in House Bill 2. But critics of the original bill were also critical of the executive order. “Too little too late,” tweeted the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Sarah Preston, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, called the executive order a “poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community, and they fall far short of correcting the damage done when he signed into law the harmful House Bill 2.” She continued, “With this executive order, LGBT individuals still lack legal protections from discrimination, and transgender people are still explicitly targeted by being forced to use the wrong bathroom.” Her statement ended with a renewed call to repeal the bill.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the laws passed by North Carolina and Mississippi and with similar legislation pending in other states, GLAAD on Tuesday issued an open letter that said, “We hope to demonstrate that the kind of discrimination being proposed — and in some cases enacted — is simply unacceptable."

Netflix, Viacom, Univision, CAA, SAG-AFTRA, CAA, the Art Directors Guild and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers all lent their names to the letter.

Noting that “over 100 other bills targeting LGBT people have been introduced in states and cities across the country,” the letter said, “we implore you to stand with us and reject any and all efforts to legalize discrimination. Send a strong and clear message to the rest of the world that America — and your communities — remain places where all people are respected."