NAACP calls for boycott of NC over HB2; Cooper disagrees

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Friday, December 23, 2016
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The NC NAACP is calling for a national boycott of NC, but Governor-elect Roy Cooper isn't on board.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The North Carolina branch of the NAACP said Thursday it will request a national NAACP economic boycott of the state following the General Assembly's failure Wednesday to repeal HB2.

A similar boycott of South Carolina over the Confederate flag at the statehouse in Columbia lasted 15 years and cost that state millions.

A supposedly bipartisan deal to repeal the anti-LGBT law collapsed Wednesday night when both sides balked and started blaming each other. After more than nine hours of backroom discussions and sporadic public effort, Republican state legislators quit trying to repeal the law and went home.

The law omits gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections, bars local governments from passing broad non-discrimination ordinances covering them, and orders people to use bathrooms and showers that align with the sex on their birth certificates.


Speaking at a news conference Thursday, North Carolina NAACP President William Barber said the law also prevents local governments from addressing employment conditions for their citizens.

"Some people like to say this is Democrat versus Republican, but this is extremism," he said. "This is a party that has been hijacked by extremists who are afraid they cannot win if things are fair."

Governor-elect Roy Cooper appeared on CNN on Thursday to discuss the legislature's failed attempt to pass a repeal of HB2.

During the interview with Jake Tapper, Cooper defended Democrats not supporting the repeal because it contained language that would mean "the NBA wouldn't come back, the NCAA wouldn't come back." Cooper went on to say "that businesses would still say no to North Carolina in many cases."

Cooper's stance is not in line with the NC NAACP's call for an economic boycott of the state, as a boycott would also hurt businesses in the state.

Ada Fisher, an NAACP member herself, had strong words against a potential boycott of the state.

Earlier Thursday, Dr. Ada Fisher, a North Carolina RNC National Committee member called on Cooper to condemn Barber's call for a boycott.

Fisher wrote, "One day after Democrat Governor-Elect Roy Cooper, who is not officially in that office, ordered legislative Democrats to vote against a full repeal of HB2, the NAACP is seeking to inflict economic damage on ten million North Carolina citizens, including over two million African Americans.

"As a Life Member of the NAACP, I am tired of efforts by the State NAACP to enjoin people in mandates which were not the purpose of my organization. This punishes hard working North Carolina citizens of color and can hardly be considered 'advancement. Further, the NAACP is comprised of several thousand women and young people, as well as others, who care about their privacy and dignity in bathrooms, showers and other facilities. These women and young Americans deserve for the NAACP to stand up for their privacy instead of wasting energy on bogus political pandering which results in special rights not equal rights as constitutionally stated.

"Governor Elect Roy Cooper said he was working to bring back events and jobs to North Carolina. If this is true, he has a duty to condemn William Barber and the NC Chapter of the NAACP boycott in the strongest possible terms."

Thursday, ABC11 reached out to Cooper's camp for a response to Barber's boycott.

"I share the frustrations people have with the Republican legislative leadership because their policies hurt working North Carolinians but I disagree with an economic boycott. I want people and companies to come to North Carolina and join us in the fight for fairness," Cooper said.

What's not clear at this point is whether Cooper's non-support of the NAACP boycott is in response to Fisher's call to action.

Barber said NAACP lawyers are ready to challenge the General Assembly in court and he also called for a massive Moral Monday march in Raleigh on February 11.

"We're not supposed to pass unjust laws that hurt the poor, and hurt children, and hurt women. It's wrong," he said.

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In addition to the NAACP action, Wednesday's failure to repeal HB2 will likely mean North Carolina will keep being shunned by many corporations, entertainers, and high-profile sporting events. Cancellations such as NCAA events, the NBA All-Star Game, and concerts have cost the state millions.

"The NCAA's decision to withhold championships from North Carolina remains unchanged," spokesman Bob Williams said.

But other indicators show HB2 has had little effect on tourism, at least in Wake County.

Read all ABC11 stories about HB2 here

Figures by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau released earlier in December show that October lodging tax collections were the highest single-month total ever collected ($2.43 million) and prepared food and beverage tax collections ($2.5 million) were the highest ever recorded for December.

"October 2016 was a very good month for all aspects of the visitor economy here in Wake County," said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB). "As these numbers show, tourism is a huge economic driver for our community bringing - $2.3 billion into the local economy and supporting more than 24,000 jobs annually while also proving that Raleigh continues to grow as an emerging leisure, meetings and sports destination of choice."

GOP legislators who see themselves as business-friendly appeared shaken by a months-long backlash as major companies like BASF, IBM and Bank of America described HB2 as bad for business.

The compromise touted by both Cooper and outgoing GOP Gov. Pat McCrory called for Charlotte to do away with its ordinance. In exchange, lawmakers would undo the LGBT law.

But many conservatives never wanted to repeal the law and GOP lawmakers cried foul when Charlotte leaders initially left part of the city's ordinance in place. When the Senate bill called for a months-long ban on cities passing similar ordinances, Democrats said Republicans were going back on their promise.

Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, blamed Cooper and the Democratic-controlled Charlotte City Council for sinking the repeal effort.

Berger said Charlotte officials misled lawmakers into thinking they had fully repealed their ordinance Monday. The council met again Wednesday morning to scrap the rest of local law.

"I'm sorry folks, I don't trust them, and our folks don't trust them. There's no reason to trust them," Berger said after his chamber adjourned.

Social conservatives defended the law's transgender bathroom requirement - which has no enforcement or punishment provisions - as necessary to prevent heterosexual predators from masquerading as transgender to molest women and girls when they are vulnerable.

"We continue to encourage our leaders to never sacrifice the privacy, safety, or freedom of young girls by forcing them to use the bathroom, shower, or change clothes with grown men just to satisfy the demands of greedy businesses, immoral sports organizations, or angry mobs," North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said in a statement.

McCrory signed the law and became its national face. HB2, along with other right-leaning bills he signed, turned this fall's gubernatorial campaign into a referendum on the state's recent conservative slant. He lost by about 10,000 votes to Cooper. Meanwhile, fellow Republicans U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and President-elect Donald Trump comfortably won the state.

McCrory, the first sitting North Carolina governor elected to a four-year term to lose re-election, echoed Republican accusations that "the left sabotaged bipartisan good faith agreements for political purposes."

Repealing the state law could also have ended protracted legal challenges by the federal Justice Department and transgender residents. Much of that litigation has been delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a separate Virginia case on transgender restroom access.

ABC11's DeJuan Hoggard and The Associated Pres contributed to this report