98 Degrees Cancels 2 North Carolina Shows Over Anti-LGBT Law
The just-announced My2K Tour — featuring a roster of pop stars most famous for their contributions to the charts in a decade when MTV's TRL ruled the music business — is sure to be a hot ticket for nostalgia-loving audiences.
Just not anyone in North Carolina.
Originally scheduled for 35 dates, My2K will now stop in only 33 cities across the U.S., kicking off July 8 in Park City, Kansas, and wrapping up on Aug. 28 in Saratoga, Calif. Headlined by 98 Degrees, the tour will showcase fellow boy band O-Town, girl group Dream and solo singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera.
It was 98 Degrees, acting as the tour lead, that announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon to drop two North Carolina dates (in Charlotte and Raleigh) due to the state's controversial new law that limits protections and public accommodations for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The boy band follows fellow performers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Cirque du Soleil that have skipped performances in the state.
Other artists, including Cyndi Lauper and Mumford & Sons, went along with scheduled performances and donated a portion of proceeds to local LGBT organizations. Beyonce is scheduled to stop her Formation World Tour in Raleigh on May 3. As of today, the date remains on her tour calendar.
In the statement, 98 Degrees said it came to the "difficult decision" because "above all else we support equality and fair treatment for all." The timing of the statement, released via Twitter, came just as the group gathered with tour mates at an exclusive kick-off party at Faculty in Los Angeles.
The Hollywood Reporter asked 98 Degrees members Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre to elaborate on the decision and the latter spoke up and offered this: "Like many other artists, we don't appreciate discrimination so we decided we should take a stand and that's that. Hopefully our fans there will understand, and hopefully they will also contact their state legislator."
During interviews with O-Town, Dream and Cabrera, the artists said they support the decision made by 98 Degrees. Cabrera added, "I am an advocate for equality all around — no matter what and no matter who you are. I believe everybody should have the right to be themselves. We live one life and everybody should be happy no matter what. I'm not here to judge anybody."
The group's full statement is below.
"As a band we get no greater satisfaction than when we're performing for our fans across the country. Before announcing the My2K Tour, we made the difficult decision on behalf of the entire tour to not move forward with two of our planned shows in Charlotte and Raleigh. Above all else we support equality and fair treatment for all. We hope our fans in North Carolina understand the decision." - 98 Degrees.
This story originally appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.