Warner Music Group and Curb Records are among a growing list of businesses voicing opposition to a set of controversial bills in the Tennessee General Assembly, which they argue could pose a threat to the LGBT community in the state and its beloved Music City.
Among other things, the bills would allow private adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples and require the Tennessee Attorney General to either defend schools who are sued for anti-transgender policies or pay their legal costs.
In a new open letter to state legislators published today (April 26) and signed by Warner and Curb, Aaron Davis, a Tennessee resident and CEO of global music administration company Exploration, writes, “Nashville is Music City; this legislation threatens the fabric of that long-standing value and pride that we all feel around the role that Nashville and Tennessee play on the world stage.
“I am proud to have employees that identify as LGBTQ and one can be certain that we are not alone across the larger music business,” the letter continues. “Our business and the greater music industry are better as a result of their presence and effort, and this legislation will, almost certainly, have a substantial negative economic impact on the most visible industry in Nashville.”
The list of signees also include Nike, Dell, Postmates and others.
Davis’ letter follows similar circulating statements from the Human Rights Campaign and Tennessee Business Leaders Against Discrimination, which was also signed by Warner and Curb. And earlier this month, Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project, a pro-LGBTQ advocacy group, speaking out against the bills some have dubbed a “Slate of Hate” in an accompanying note.
Read the full open letter from Davis, below.
Dear Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, Speaker Glen Casada, and Senator Jack Johnson,
I am Aaron Davis, a resident of Fairview, Tennessee, and the CEO and Co-founder of Exploration, a global music administration company. I speak on behalf of our entire company to oppose, in the strongest terms possible, the discriminatory bills up for consideration by the Tennessee Legislature and ultimately, Governor Bill Lee.
These bills send a clear message to members of the LGBTQ community: You, your efforts, and your talents are not welcome in Tennessee. That is not, nor should be, the attitude of the state we love. These are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and community leaders. All walks of life should be welcome in Tennessee, and our state will be stronger and more vibrant with their diverse perspectives included.
This legislation, and the ideology that drives it, are on the wrong side of history and are remarkably bad for business.
You see, there aren’t many life experiences that are more inclusive than music. In an age of extreme polarization and dearth of good will, music is a powerful force that brings people together… not only songwriters, artists, bands, producers, promoters, music publishing and record label executives, financial advisors, event coordinators, venue staff… but also fans, here, across the US, and the world! Music allows folks from every walk of life to participate and we are all better as a result. Nashville is Music City; this legislation threatens the fabric of that long-standing value and pride that we all feel around the role that Nashville and Tennessee play on the world stage.
Our goal is to foster community, not tear it apart. Tourists, natives, and businesses want to be in Music City because this is a unique place that brings people together.
I am proud to have employees that identify as LGBTQ and one can be certain that we are not alone across the larger music business. Our business and the greater music industry are better as a result of their presence and effort, and this legislation will, almost certainly, have a substantial negative economic impact on the most visible industry in Nashville.
Nashville and greater Tennessee are experiencing positive growth on nearly every measurable metric — please — make sure diversity and inclusion are part of that list.
Join us and the many fair and economically enriching companies in opposing these bills that unfairly discriminate against our colleagues, neighbors, and family members that identify as LGBTQ.
CEO / Co-Founder
Covenant of the Cross
Diversity Builder, Inc
Events R Us Photography
Focus Middle Tennessee
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
MP Dezgn Technology Solutions
Nashville Children’s Theatre
Noah E. Spiegel Consulting
North America Services, LLC
Pecker Bar & Grill
Warner Music Group