The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday August 11th

Owners and executives worry the House Bill 2 is bad for business

Nearly 90 companies, including some in North Carolina, have demanded the repeal of House Bill 2 in a formal letter.

The bill, signed into law by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on March 23, limits the ability of local government to enact antidiscrimination ordinances and requires individuals to use single-sex bathrooms based on their biological sex.

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC organized the effort and are scheduled to deliver the letter Thursday morning. Among the signatures are a number of representatives from American Airlines, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, Intel and Airbnb among others.

Many companies have also taken to social media to express disapproval, tagging their posts with #WeAreNotThis.

“We believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all. This North Carolina law is misguided and wrong. #WeAreNotThis,” Google tweeted.

Katie Cody, a spokesperson from American Airlines, voiced similar disapproval in an email.

“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation. Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.”

Other N.C.-based companies have expressed similar concerns.

McKinney CEO Brad Brinegar said the bill is relevant in a creative industry since the best creatives also care about the issues of inclusion. The Durham-based creative advertising agency signed a formal letter calling for repeal.

He said he anticipates the bill will negatively affect the company’s ability to attract talent and new clients.

“It’s such a competitive business we’re in, and it’s small differences that matter,” Brinegar said.

New clients, he said, frequently ask about the company’s diversity policies before they even consider a contract. Even though McKinney has a strong commitment to diversity, Brinegar said he fears new clients might be deterred from partnering with McKinney because one of its offices is in North Carolina.

Brinegar said McKinney also relies on the talent generated by the state’s top universities. Whatever affects students’ decisions to attend North Carolina institutions will affect the talent base of the companies.

Student filmmaker Riley Reid said he doesn’t blame filmmakers like director Rob Reiner who have said they won’t film in North Carolina until the legislation has been overturned.

“By shooing the filmmakers away, you’re taking away from North Carolinians,” Reid said.

The state has already moved from a tax-incentive model to a grant-based model for films. Many filmmakers fear the new funding model, combined with the anti-LBGTQ perception, will put greater strain on an already-struggling part of the state’s economy.

Guy Gaster, director of the N.C. Film Office, said in an email that, because of its affiliation with the state, the office can’t comment on matters of public policy.

But photographer and writer Alicia Stemper — who is married to the mayor of Carrboro, Lydia Lavelle —said one goal of her ongoing piece, “Vitamin O,” is to depict the welcoming nature of Orange County so outsiders consider relocating.

“I can’t wait to showcase diversity. It seems that they can’t wait to stifle it.”



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