McCrory’s sad, desperate response to HB2 backlash
Governor feigns ignorance, attacks the media, peddles patently false claims, and touts fake list of “businesses” supporting his embarrassingly bigoted new law
Gov. McCrory is in major damage control mode, amid a nationwide backlash to his new law stripping away LGBT rights and workplace discrimination protections, as well as overturning local minimum wage ordinances. But in trying to defend the indefensible, the governor has resorted to attacking the media, pushing false claims, and feigning ignorance about HB2’s wide-ranging impact.
First, the McCrory campaign sent out a wildly misleading “fact check” about HB2 -- which earned the worst possible rating from WRAL’s own fact-checkers, and was widely criticized by other news outlets such as Indy Week and Chapelboro for its false claims.
Then, after blaming the media for the widespread backlash against his new law, Gov. McCrory claimed he was “blindsided” by a reporter’s question about HB2 overturning fair housing ordinances -- claiming ignorance about a law that he himself signed just a few days earlier.
Next, the governor tried to claim that “Every city has the exact same discrimination policy they had a few weeks ago.” This is patently false, given that local nondiscrimination ordinances in Buncombe, Mecklenburg, and Orange counties, as well as the cities of Asheville, Charlotte, Boone, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Raleigh all prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation -- and all were overturned by HB2.
“Either Gov. McCrory didn’t understand HB2 when he rushed to sign it last week, or he’s flat-out lying in a desperate attempt to counter the enormous backlash he caused,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “As major employers speak out left and right against HB2, the desperate buffoonery of McCrory’s smoke-and-mirrors campaign would almost be funny if it wasn’t trying to defend bigotry and discrimination."
As Gov. McCrory struggles to defend HB2, the right-wing NC Values Coalition sent out a list of “over 300 businesses” which supposedly support the law. When questioned by the Greensboro News & Record, the group admitted their list of “businesses” was actually 300 private individuals. Of their followup list of 17 ACTUAL businesses, the largest -- Hanesbrand -- quickly asked to be taken off the list and clarified that they do NOT support HB2.
Meanwhile, dozens of major employers across the state are speaking out against HB2 and saying discrimination is bad for business. The list of anti-HB2 businesses includes four of the six largest private-sector employers in North Carolina (Duke University, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Lowe’s Home Centers) as well as major tech companies such as Red Hat, Citrix, IBM, Apple, and Facebook.
“This speaks to a personality problem for McCrory,” a national Republican operative told Politico. “North Carolina is a very informed state and if Fortune 500 companies are saying they don’t want to business to him, then voters are asking themselves, ‘Why do we want him as a governor?’”
Then, to top it all off, the NC Values Coalition sent out a mass email urging their supporters to repeatedly vote in an unscientific online survey by the Triangle Business Journal asking whether HB2 is bad for business. “This poll is important for us to win the court of public opinion,” said Tami Fitzgerald, urging her supporters to skew the poll’s results by repeatedly voting from as many different computers as possible.
“This desperate attempt to defend the indefensible is clear evidence that Gov. McCrory is panicking as more and more businesses speak out against HB2,” added Brenner. “The governor thought attacking the LGBT community would help him save his own political skin in November, but major employers across the state have made it clear that bigotry is bad for business in North Carolina.”