North Carolina is facing a severe backlash from the business community after passing the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, banning local governments from extending civil rights to members of the LGBT community.
The response from corporate America has been just as swift: Dozens of companies have signed a letter to Republican Governor Pat McCrory demanding that he repeal the law, while some companies have threatened to boycott the state.
Still others have outright cancelled plans to keep doing business there. They don’t want to do business, they say, in a state that refuses to protect any portion of its workers. It’s bad for their quality of life, it hurts recruiting and it’s wrong, say the companies.
If North Carolina doesn’t repeal HB2, these 10 companies could ditch North Carolina for good.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL)
PayPal (PYPL) is the largest wakeup call to date for the Tar Heel state.
Just weeks after announcing a new global operations center in Charlotte that would bring 400 high-quality tech jobs to the Queen City, PayPal nixed the plans entirely.
“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” said PayPal in a company press release.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (LGF)
Lionsgate (LGF), the film studio behind the Hunger Games franchise, has also cancelled some concrete plans for future business in NC.
Specifically, the pilot episode of a new Hulu show titled “Crushed” was going to be shot in Charlotte.
It didn’t take long for Lionsgate to change its plans.
Within 24 hours of Gov. McCrory signing the bill into law on March 23, Lionsgate notified workers in the state that they’d lost their gigs. The show will be shot in Vancouver.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: The National Basketball Association
Even professional sports leagues are thinking about turning their back on the state. The National Basketball Association is scheduled to hold its annual All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, home of the NBA’s Hornets, in 2017. That, however, might change.
“We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect, and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte,” reads an NBA statement on the event.
Charlotte estimates the economic impact of hosting the NBA All-Star weekend could “reach upward of $100 million.”
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Red Ventures
Customer acquisition marketing firm Red Ventures has grown to become a staple of the Charlotte business community since its founding in 2000.
CEO Ric Elias wrote an open letter to the NC Governor frankly stating how the law, if not repealed, will force him to make some difficult decisions:
“As a CEO who is committed to expanding our Charlotte presence by 500 people in 2016 and thousands after that, I am forced to seriously reconsider adding more jobs in a state that tolerates discrimination and allows political interests to interfere with doing what is right for all citizens,” read the letter.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOX)
The film industry in particular is not taking the passing of House Bill 2 (or HB2), very well. Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX), which is currently filming a show called Shots Fired in the state, has threatened production boycotts in the wake of HB2’s passage.
“On behalf of our creative partners and colleagues who made commitments to shoot in North Carolina prior to this bill being signed, we join the growing coalition of businesses that hope to see this act repealed,” said the network.
“In addition, we will reconsider future filming commitments in North Carolina if the Act is not repealed.”
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: A&E Television Networks
A&E is also currently filming a series in North Carolina: It’s called “Six,” and it’s a drama about an elite group of Navy SEALs whose mission to take down a major Taliban official doesn’t go to plan.
House Bill 2 isn’t going to plan, either. With each passing day, more and more businesses are making clear their intention to reduce or altogether cease their investments in North Carolina.
“Production on ‘Six’ is already under way, however we will not consider North Carolina for any new productions,” in the wake of the law’s passing, said an A&E spokeswoman.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Turner Broadcasting
The exodus of film industry jobs doesn’t stop there. Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc (TWX), has also said it plans to “reevaluate” future projects in the state.
It’s currently filming the first season of a TNT drama called “Good Behavior,” but has said it’ll “reevaluate” doing future business in North Carolina when it’s finished filming.
Time Warner’s stance on the issue is consistent with that of other employers planning to leave the state:
“…as an employer, we believe that all our employees should enjoy equal rights, and thus we oppose legislation that promotes invidious discrimination.”
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Alphabet Inc (GOOG, GOOGL)
Somehow it feels oddly appropriate that a company called Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) is joining the seemingly endless number of companies who have big problems committing any further resources to projects in the state.
Specifically, Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the dominant search engine, will no longer invest in North Carolina startups until the law is repealed.
Bill Maris, CEO of Google Ventures, has taken a tough stance, saying, “please flag any investments in NC that come through as I am not comfortable deploying dollars into startups there until the voters there fix this.”
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Salesforce.com, inc (CRM)
Salesforce (CRM) is another major tech company that’s not happy with the anti-LGBT law. Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly politically active in areas regarding civil rights and immigration, since it faces a talent crunch and needs to attract more employees.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, joined dozens of other executives of high-profile companies by signing his name to a letter to McCrory protesting the law.
“We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the nation,” the letter reads.
Companies Abandoning North Carolina: Apple Inc. (AAPL)
It should come as no surprise that Apple’s (AAPL) name found its way onto this list. In 2014, CEO Tim Cook announced that he was gay, and since then he’s spoken about his sexuality several times in public.
Cook signed the same letter that Benioff did protesting HB2.
The letter doesn’t pull any punches:
“The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”
As of this writing, John Divine was long AAPL. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.