Less than three weeks ago, PayPal announced that it’d be expanding its company into North Carolina, creating approximately 400 jobs and infusing the state with several million dollars worth of cash. Pat McCrory, the state’s 74th governor was even so excited he tweeted about it:
Now, however, all those dreams and hopes have been dashed because PayPal’s decided it’s not moving to North Carolina anytime soon. Why? The same reason the NBA’s threatening to move its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte: The state’s abhorrent HB2 bill which allows people who identify as LGBT+ to be openly discriminated against.
Here’s a short refresher of the bill, just in case your day hasn’t been filled with enough outrage. It’s important to note that the bill was created specifically so as not to grant protections to anyone who does not identify as heterosexual or conform to gender norms:
Apparently, the bill was specifically designed to override an ordinance in Charlotte, N.C., that would protect LGBT people from “discrimination in housing and public accommodations.” Its goal is also to ban transgender people from using the restroom of their choice (or the restroom of the gender not listed on their birth certificate), with the justification that otherwise sex predators (read: transgender women) could access women’s bathrooms.
McCrory, who signed the “common sense bathroom privacy law” when the bill was presented, is, hopefully, aware of his error, not just because of calls to repeal HB2, but because it’s having considerable financial consequences on his state. On Tuesday morning, Dan Schulman, the transaction-processing company’s President and CEO, posted the following message on PayPal’s site:
Two weeks ago, PayPal announced plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte and employ over 400 people in skilled jobs. In the short time since then, legislation has been abruptly enacted by the State of North Carolina that invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law.
The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.
This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination.
Schulman, who is openly regretful about the fact that the company won’t be able to work with Charlotte’s talent pool (or to provide hundreds of jobs to people who sorely need them) is adamant that this isn’t the only step the company will be taking. In addition to canceling their expansion into Charlotte, Schulman writes that the company will continue to fight HB2:
While we will seek an alternative location for our operations center, we remain committed to working with the LGBT community in North Carolina to overturn this discriminatory legislation, alongside all those who are committed to equality.
Aside from PayPal and The NBA, the bill’s been criticized by companies such as American Airlines and Bank of America. It’s also worth noting that Georgia’s governor recently caved to similar pressures (Marvel, Apple, and the NFL) while vetoing his state’s LGBT discrimination bill in March.