Itzhak Perlman Cancels North Carolina Concert Over Discrimination Law

May 17, 2016, 12:08 PM · Violinist Itzhak Perlman has cancelled his May 18th concert the North Carolina Symphony in protest of the state's new law, House Bill 2.

The new law eliminates and prohibits the passage of laws to protect LGBT workers and also mandates that people use only restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.

Here is Perlman's statement, which he posted on his Facebook page Tuesday.

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May 17, 2016 at 07:40 PM · Oh brother.....

*eye roll*

May 17, 2016 at 07:41 PM · Way to go:

Punish your FANS for the actions of the local government.

Welcome to Political Correctness and all of its associated stupidity.

In protest, I will NOT be attending Mr Perlman's May 18th concert.

May 17, 2016 at 07:50 PM · Why stop there?

Aren't ALL public bathrooms, by their very nature discriminatory?

Why is one labelled MEN, and the other WOMEN?

Isn't that, in itself, the height of sex discrimination?

Why are folks fighting a halfhearted battle?

Boycott EVERY public venue, state and store until people are allowed free and unfettered access to whatever toilet they want to use unencumbered by these outdated "labels" that only serve to divide humanity.

May 17, 2016 at 07:51 PM · PC? How about equality, respect, dignity and access for ALL, instead of homophobia, racism, hatred, and other medieval mindsets?!?

When and how exactly did YOU choose to be straight (I assume)??? Same for non-straight people, if your bigoted single neuron can comprehend that, Seraphim...

May 17, 2016 at 07:51 PM · People focus so much about transgender and the bathroom. I understand they need to go to the restroom. What about our women and little girls? What about their feelings and safety? I understand that Mr. Perlman is an advocate against discrimination. I am a mom and very concerned about us being discriminated because we can't go to the restroom feeling safe anymore!!! Once again, I am not saying transgenders are dangerous sex predators but the ones that pretend and with other motives!!!!!

May 17, 2016 at 08:27 PM · Way to go, Itzhak Perlman!

May 17, 2016 at 08:40 PM · Dear,

I appreciate your ad hominem attack, it was well thought out, and covered most of the tried and true strategies of the Heterophobic Political Action Commission- label dissenting opinions as "homophobic" (even if we are discussing gender orientation, NOT sexual orienttaion), claim that the opposition is full of HATE (even if they are simply voicing their own concerns and opinions), and of course, always label the other person as a "bigot". Nicely done, a textbook example, bravo.

However, I was posting to the fact that Mr Perlman's actions will have repercussions for HIS FANS only and do nothing to change the minds of local government.

I was born a male, it's true. If you are outraged at bathrooms being designated for a particular gender, then why doesn't that outrage apply to the cisgendered as well? Why should I be relegated to the segregated MENS room, when I could be more comfortable in the other restroom? Why aren't YOU supporting MY needs?

Why should we be divided along gender lines at all?

Lobby the government, don't abuse the people who want to attend an evening of classical music.

May 17, 2016 at 08:57 PM · I am ashamed of Perlman for his actions. He is just jumping on what seems to be the popular band-wagon of boycotts by famous people. Sadly, I've lost respect for him over this. Not because of his personal viewpoints but how he is dissing his fans over something like this.

There's nothing wrong with the law and it doesn't target transgender people; it provides for the safety of women and children while using the bathroom. Contrary to what people would have you believe, it's not fully transgender people that need to be kept out. Rather it's all the men (perverts, rapists, pedophiles, and voyeurs) who are already abusing the law in order to access women and little girls in the restrooms. And yes, it's been documented that these abuses are happening. If a person is fully transgender (meaning the genitalia has been surgically altered) I couldn't care less what bathroom they use. But if a man is a man - fully intact) than yeah, use the bathroom that matches your equipment.

I know, I know, let the blood-bath begin.

May 17, 2016 at 09:09 PM · Right, Bev.

He could have used his celebrity status to SPEAK OUT for his viewpoints.

Instead, he cancels his show, disappointing his fans who wanted to see him perform.

A total waste.

May 17, 2016 at 09:46 PM · He has the right to make any political statement, in any way he wishes. This action gets his point across in a significant way, as you can see by the news coverage. I think it shows courage, as it is obvious that not everyone is going to agree with him or support his decision. It does not appear that he took it lightly or "jumped on a bandwagon." The issue of bathrooms may seem trivial to some people, but it's not. And the issue of discrimination might seem trivial to those who don't experience it in any significant way. But it's not. This most certainly is a law that singles out a group for discrimination.

May 17, 2016 at 09:51 PM · I couldn't agree more with Mr. Perlman. His action speaks loud and clear against the bill designed to discriminate people. Way to go!

May 17, 2016 at 10:23 PM · Hey Laurie,

Have you been raped in a bathroom by a man who was obviously in a place he shouldn't have been? Have you stood outside a bathroom in a public place having a full blown panic attack because you were to scared to go in and use the facilities? Would you care to ask me about that because I'll tell you all about it.

This is not about discrimination against anyone except the women and children who now don't have a safe place to go to the bathroom outside their homes. How typical that .3 percent of trans people scream bloody murder about their poor little feelings and how discrimination does such damage to them while the 99% of women are told that we are unfeeling bigots for not wanting to allow men in with us and that the discrimination again our safety and privacy is justified!

May 17, 2016 at 10:26 PM · HB2 goes way beyond the bathroom issue. Even Gov McCrory said he didn't like the other part of the bill, but then he signed it anyway. My guess is that whoever they do hire to replace Perlman for the planned concert will be quite a fine violinist. Many exceptional players have made their concert debuts this way, and why not, especially if the venue is sold out.

What galls me is how McCrory said that the "political left" created the bathroom issue. No, individuals who were discriminated against created the bathroom issue. HB2 is just another opportunity for Republicans to get all heated up over their favorite kind of social issue ... the kind that involves other people's reproductive organs.

The result, in the end, might be positive. Maybe there will just be bathrooms.

May 18, 2016 at 12:22 AM · There is a lot more to HB 2 than the bathroom provisions. If you click on Laurie's link, you'll see 5 parts. One part says that local governments can't make any laws about minimum wage or labor conditions, including child labor. Another days that workers can't sue for discrimination -- of any kind-- in state court.

Set aside your opinions of transgender people for a moment; this is an alarming overreach by the NC State Legislature. But all people at talking about is the bathroom provisions. We're getting played by special interests who want to gut worker protections.

May 18, 2016 at 12:26 AM · Bev Saunders wrote, "Rather it's all the men (perverts, rapists, pedophiles, and voyeurs) who are already abusing the law in order to access women and little girls in the restrooms. And yes, it's been documented that these abuses are happening. If a person is fully transgender (meaning the genitalia has been surgically altered) I couldn't care less what bathroom they use."

So if a trans woman still has male genitalia, they're likely to be a rapist or pedophile, but the same woman minus the external plumbing is automatically harmless? I think you've overestimated what is possible through mere surgery. Furthermore how would you even know what equipment they've got? And all these so-called perverts and pedophiles ... how come nobody's worried they might be lurking in the men's room when they send their young sons in there? And have you ever found a member of the same sex creepy and worth avoiding in a public bathroom? I have.

I think people should be asking themselves what their real fears are.

You're more likely to be propositioned in a public rest room by a Republican legislator than you are by a transgendered person.

May 18, 2016 at 01:50 AM · Maybe here is an opportunity for young artists who can still play to fill in the gap. Anyone can hear Itzhak Perlman in his better days anytime on YouTube. His concerts now are just parodies of art. For the fees he collects orchestras and promoters can hire a number of better performers.

May 18, 2016 at 05:25 AM · Is this punshing his fans? Maybe. Punishing the state? Definitely.

Considering how many people support the US army absolutely despite some humiliating instances of disproportionate collateral damage, I would say bravo, Maestro.

May 18, 2016 at 06:03 AM · I think perverts are out to break the law no matter what it is, which means discriminating against transgenders won't stop them.

May 18, 2016 at 11:02 AM · According to this morning's Raleigh News&Observer, Perlman originally planned to play the concert and donate his fee to a group that supports transgender rights. As part of that effort, he wanted to include a statement of support in the program notes. However, the NC Symphony refused on the grounds that it is a state-supported organization and did not want to appear partisan. Hence Perlman decided he had to cancel at the last minute. Just chalk this up to another case of disharmony created by this nonsensical HB2 law that has become an embarrassment to our state.

May 18, 2016 at 11:14 AM · I actually haven't yet decided how I feel about all of this - the issue generally and Perlman's decision. I can see both sides at this point. But one thing strikes me as really wild:

"The new law eliminates and prohibits the passage of laws to protect LGBT workers and also mandates that people use only restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates."

So if I'm travelling in North Carolina and I gotta go at some rest stop, do I have to have and produce my birth certificate on demand? After all I might be a very convincing female-to-male transsexual person. And meanwhile, while I'm fumbling for my birth cert. I really gotta go!

May 18, 2016 at 01:14 PM · Raphael it's not about the practicalities of enforcement or even doing what's best for the state of North Carolina. It's about Republican legislators living in constant fear of being "Cantored" (outflanked from the right in a primary) or worse ... "Trumped."

Gov. McCrory got his wish: An issue, preferably one involving other people's genitalia, over which he could wage war with the Obama administration. Watch him stand on that when he runs for the Senate or the Presidency.

Having grown up in the Detroit area, I thought it was sad when they started requiring a passport to have lunch in one of the terrific Dim Sum restaurants in Windsor. Not only will you need to bring you birth certificate with you to the bathroom, you probably will need photo ID as well.

May 18, 2016 at 02:03 PM · What happens when the issue is that some people are falsifying/modifying their genitalia?

If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does that dog have?


Calling a tail a leg does not make it one.

In regards to Mr Perlman:

"Hence Perlman decided he had to cancel at the last minute. "

HAD TO cancel?

Mr Perlman could have done his performance for the sake of his fans. He could have also used the opportunity to call the local news outlets to give interviews in which to air his opinions. They would have been more than happy to oblige I'm sure.

May 18, 2016 at 02:06 PM · Bravo Mr. Perlman for this stance.

May 18, 2016 at 02:13 PM · And how does this play into the debate:

What is the deal if someone is transgendered, such as is the case of Bruce Jenner from man to "woman", thus acquiring access to the women's bathroom or locker room. Yet, Bruce still maintains that he is still only sexually attracted to women?

May 18, 2016 at 02:16 PM · "The new law eliminates and prohibits the passage of laws to protect LGBT workers..." It's shocking that a law like this is adopted in one of the 50 states of the USA in 19... Wait, 2016!

May 18, 2016 at 02:38 PM · Seraphim - you obviously don't understand that gender dysphoria - the condition of identifying as the opposite of one's physical gender - is a real diagnosable condition recognized by the APA. Gender identity is a different thing than physical gender and they don't always match causing intense disharmony which can lead to debilitating depression for the individual. It cannot be resolved through therapy. This has been established. And it is not about pretending a person is a different gender than they are. It is about recognizing that the person has this condition and that living comfortably and happily for that person can only occur if they can identify as the gender they feel. Perlman's decision to speak out and act out strongly against this discrimanatory and dismissive legislation is highly commendable. That you won't or can't understand the underlying issue, instead becoming bogged down in your own prejudices, is your problem. A little education approached with an open mind could cure you of that condition.

May 18, 2016 at 03:00 PM · @Seraphim: Gender and sexual orientation are not the same thing, and I don't think anyone would go through all of the trouble to transition simply to get more peeks.

May 18, 2016 at 03:12 PM · Right, they are not the same thing.

And, thusly, things are not as cut and dried as "Bruce is now Caitlyn, and should have full access to a locker room full of girls."

May 18, 2016 at 05:27 PM · I admire all the musicians of the fifties and sixties who refused to play segregated venues, and I applaud anyone who follows their example today.

May 18, 2016 at 05:29 PM · Seraphim asks, "What is the deal if someone is transgendered, such as is the case of Bruce Jenner from man to 'woman', thus acquiring access to the women's bathroom or locker room. Yet, Bruce still maintains that he is still only sexually attracted to women?

So ... you're planning to ask/evaluate/verify the sexual orientation of anyone hoping to use a public rest room, in addition to viewing their birth certificate? Don't forget you'll need a photo ID to ensure that nobody is engaging in toilet fraud.

I don't know the particulars but it sounds like the NC Symphony blew it. Couldn't they publish Mr. Perlman's "statement of support" and then simply write a disclaimer indicating that the statement is solely his, and that it would be imprudent for the Symphony itself to support any potentially controversial position because of its standing as a public institution?

May 18, 2016 at 05:38 PM · Perlman is the one who blew it, not the symphony.

May 18, 2016 at 07:53 PM · Actually I'd say North Carolina blew it with legislation that is driving business and culture away from their state.

May 18, 2016 at 08:21 PM · In time there won't be any culture left at the rate we are going. There are no artists any more, just acts with shticks and poses. Transgenderism is a psychotic delusion at best and a morbid perversion at worst. Men are defined by a Y chromosome and women by the absence thereof. It is settled science.

May 18, 2016 at 08:55 PM · "Men are defined by a Y chromosome and women by the absence thereof. It is settled science."

It's obvious you know nothing about the science, it is just not that simple. All of you hyperventilating about the dangers to women and children ought to reflect on the FACT that most rapists are straight cis men. I know several transgendered people and all they want to do is be able to use a public toilet without attracting attention. They fear for their lives.

May 18, 2016 at 09:31 PM · I hope any of your daughters never encounter this:

May 18, 2016 at 09:33 PM · Laurie, yes of course I agree ... but that's done. We can still either respond well or not well to the situation.

The North Carolina Symphony's web site posted Mr. Perlman's reason for cancelling his appearance. They could publish that, but they couldn't publish an essentially identical (but disclaimed) statement in their concert program?

They didn't hire a replacement soloist. Their concert was entirely cancelled.

May 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM · Corwin, assault is assault. It can happen anywhere and should be prosecuted accordingly. The common corridor of a set of changing rooms can easily be monitored by security cameras. You can avoid shopping at Ross. I'll avoid eating at Chick-Fil-A.

This isn't about rational fear for you. With your comments about "psychotic delusion and morbid perversion," we've seen your cards.

May 19, 2016 at 05:13 AM · I imagine the North Carolina Symphony doesn't want to risk losing funding. According to a recent article, 26% of their money comes from the state. I wouldn't put it past the legislature to cut the symphony's funding if they publically criticize the law. Political controversy might also scare off private donors.

I agree with Mr. Perlman's opinion of the law, but I also see why the NC Symphony doesn't want to be perceived as getting involved in politics. It's one thing for Mr. Perlman to choose not to do concerts here when he can play in plenty of other places. It's another thing to ask an organization to risk its stability and its members livelihoods.

May 19, 2016 at 11:19 AM · Yes, 65, that does make sense.

May 19, 2016 at 09:45 PM ·

And in the end we shall achieve in time

The thing they call divine

And all the stars will smile for me

When all is well and well is all for all

Forever after

Living in the meantime wait and see

We love the all the all of you

Where lands are green and skies are blue

When all in all we're just like you

We love the all of you

And when I cry for me I cry for you

With tears of holy joy

For all the days still to come

And did I ever say I'd never play

Or fly toward the sun

Living in the meantime something's gone

We love the all the all of you

Where lands are green and skies are blue

When all in all we're just like you

We love the all of you

Well that sounds fine so I'll see you sometime

Give my love to the future of the humankind

Okay, okay, it's not okay.

While it's on my mind there's a girl that fits the crime

For a future love dream that I'm still to find

But in the meantime.

We love the all the all of you

Where lands are green and skies are blue

When all in all we're just like you

We love the all of you

We love the all the all of you

Where lands are green and skies are blue

When all in all we're just like you

We love the all of you

We love the all the all of you

Our lands are green and skies are blue

Just like you,

Just like you.

Just like, just like

Just like you,

Just like you.

Just like, just like

Just like you.

May 19, 2016 at 11:07 PM · Thanks, that was useless.

May 20, 2016 at 05:04 AM ·

May 20, 2016 at 02:18 PM · Take a deep breath, Paul. I thought instead of the back and forth bickering, I'd interject a little musical interlude.

If you open your mind, you can see that song is about a future utopia where things will be great for every one of us. But, in the meantime....

I thought both the message and the inclusion of transgendered actors in the video were on point here.

If you need a more straightforward musical commentary on the current political debate, perhaps this little gem from 32 (!) years ago, when I was a more open minded young man, will fit the bill:

Here comes Dick, he's wearing a skirt

Here comes Jane, y'know she's sporting a chain

Same hair, revolution

Same build, evolution

Tomorrow who's gonna fuss

And they love each other so


Closer than you know, love each other so


Don't get him wrong and don't get him mad

He might be a father, but he sure ain't a dad

And she don't need advice that's sent at her

She's happy with the way she looks

She's happy with her gender

Mirror image, see no damage

See no evil at all

Kewpie dolls and urine stalls

Will be laughed at

The way you're laughed at now

Now, something meets boy, and something meets girl

They both look the same

They're overjoyed in this world

Same hair, revolution

Unisex, evolution

Tomorrow who's gonna fuss

And tomorrow Dick is wearing pants

And tomorrow Janie's wearing a dress

Future outcasts and they don't last

And today, the people dress the way that they please

The way they tried to do in the last centuries

And they love each other so


Closer than you know, love each other so


May 20, 2016 at 03:38 PM · I didn't read either one of them. Or watch the videos. Just saying.

May 20, 2016 at 04:14 PM ·

What ever happened to discussion and discourse as a means by which to understand each other as human beings?

May 20, 2016 at 08:40 PM · Copying-and-pasting whole songs' worth of banal, highly repetitive lyrics for the sake of "interjecting a musical interlude" does not qualify as discourse. I don't know where you would have learned otherwise.

May 20, 2016 at 09:21 PM · Proud of You Itzhak!

He is and has been, all his life fighting for equality, and he went through much more than any other great violinists (except one i my knowledge) in every step and every note he makes, and he previled more than most!

He is a true humanitarian, and respects each hr comes into contact with.

He is willing to risk everything for humanity and equality.

To say he is using his status for politics is a sick and twisted way to say things.

I dont feel any reasons for his fans to be not supporting him all the way, and protest along side him.

Perlman does not play concerts as a business, he does not need to. He shows up to share with us, so when he cancels, he gives up the same as thr audience.

Equality is one key ingtedient of humanity, without it, we r nothing but thugs (because we rob others their basic rights), true music is based on "all "man" are "One" (Einen; one, united, unity; kin, interconnect to and each other), Ludwig van Beethoven.

If Beethoven is alive today, he would storm into the wht hs to protest, cancelling concert is nothing!

May 21, 2016 at 02:53 PM · Well done Mr. Perlman for actively supporting what you believe in! That sometimes takes a lot of courage as I'm sure it did this time.

Discrimination is always wrong - but for a government to debate this law, and other people to spend so much time and energy arguing over it, seems absurd when millions and millions of people in the world have to rely on an open, very public street-gutter for a toilet.

Next time you use a toilet, spare a thought for our brothers and sisters who can't.

May 21, 2016 at 09:26 PM · Obviously, he did not bother to read the bill, he just jumped on the liberal bandwagon.

May 21, 2016 at 11:06 PM · It's not about toilets.

May 22, 2016 at 12:03 AM · I consider music should be separate from politics, which again should be based on equality ("Einen", Ludwick van Beethoven), but if politics violates basic human rights and/or carried out disrespectful conduct, then anyone, including musicians should defend humanity (of which music is an integral part) by carry out anti-politics!

May 22, 2016 at 12:35 PM · I think the point about the toilets is that whether a transgendered person should be free to use the toilet of his or her choice is a "first world problem." Maybe so. But human rights and basic dignity are important everywhere. Eventually (hopefully) as the standard of living in the third world improves, these "first world" issues might already be solved.

May 23, 2016 at 05:39 PM · Nice going, Itzak.

Your stunt lost alot of innocent people alot of money.

And, let's see....exactly HOW were the legislators impacted by this?

Little to none.

OK, maybe come next election time, they will feel the heat. In the meantime, your actions are having a severe economic impact on people who are in no way in a position to affect any kind of change to the "bathroom bill"

But, you sure come off looking like a "noble person" for "taking a stand".

*thumbs down*

May 23, 2016 at 09:10 PM · The union stage hand who was interviewed for the Yahoo News piece that you cited said, "It's not just hurting the entertainment industry. It's hurting our state overall, period." Good! Maybe he and the restaurant owners, hoteliers, bartenders that are affected by the boycott should direct their ire at their governor instead of the performers. In the meantime, if there really is a significant loss in the incomes of the innocent, then there will be less tax revenue to the state next year. That's usually cause for Republicans to celebrate, isn't it? Then they can cut public education even more.


May 24, 2016 at 01:54 PM · Ok, so let's get this straight:

Making a transgendered person feel uncomfortable about what bathroom they should use is a bad thing.

But taking away people's livelihood for the sake of a political agenda is fine.


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