On Tuesday, Perlman posted about his decision on Facebook:
As my fans know, I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally.
As such, after great consideration, I have decided to cancel my May 18th concert in North Carolina with the North Carolina Symphony as a stand against House Bill 2.
As Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently stated, HB2 “is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. [It] is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens.”
I couldn’t agree more and will look forward to returning to North Carolina when this discriminatory law is repealed.
Perlman, who contracted polio as a child and walks with the assistance of crutches, later told NPR he had been mulling over what to do for some time.
“The first thought was to cancel,” he said. “And then I thought, ’Well, what’s going to happen to the orchestra musicians? They’re going to suffer. It’s not their fault.’ So I thought that I was going to go, and that I would donate my fee to Equality North Carolina. And I wanted to put fliers into the program explaining my position. So I thought that was all set.”
“And then yesterday morning at 9:30 AM,” Perlman continued, “I get a phone call — and the symphony said, no, the state would not allow that statement. After that exchange, I thought, ’I am going into a hostile situation.’ And that’s when I said, ’As much as I hate to cause problems and stress, I have to have a stand. I’m canceling.'”
Perlmen, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom, calls HB2 “ugly and hostile.”
His performance on Wednesday was to be with the The North Carolina Symphony, which received a quarter of their funding from the state of North Carolina. He says he’s sorry local musicians have been negatively impacted by his decision.
“I really think they are caught in the middle of this ugly period. All I can say is that my thoughts were very pure on this matter… I’m hoping that if the law is repealed, and of course if you still want me, if I’m invited again, we’ll be able to play together in the future.”