Opinion: Why is Springsteen punishing his fans for their politicians' actions?

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur\/Getty Images)

When sections of social media began celebrating’s Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel his Sunday night concert in North Carolina, I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. Was this right? Had Springsteen really pulled out of a gig because he disagreed with some law the state had just passed? Surely not?

Sadly, he had. In a press release, Springsteen announced that he was terribly sorry, but he just could not bring himself to play a gig in a state that had passed a law many people believe discriminates against the trans-gender community.

All very right-on, yes? Well done, Bruce. Full marks and a firm slap on the back for the Boss.

But hang on a minute. Is the state legislature of North Carolina made up entirely of Bruce Springsteen fans? Was the man or woman who originally came up with this law a Bruce Springsteen fan? Is the new law called the ‘Born to Run Law’? If not, what the hell has any of this got to do with his fans?

This knee-jerk reaction to something he doesn’t like makes absolutely no sense. Had Springsteen rocked up to his concert, made a little speech about his opposition to the new law and invited those who didn’t agree with him to leave with a full refund, then fair enough. But no. Bruce decided that the best way to show his displeasure was to say to hell with the whole damn lot of them.

That’s to hell with his own audience. His fans. The people who like him so much, they’re willing to pay him quite a substantial amount of money to see the Boss and his band play live.

And he’s just given them all the finger because of something their state government has done. He’s pretty much saying his own fans have colluded with their legislators to come up with a law he doesn’t like, and now they must be punished for it.

Hey, thanks Bruce!

Could you imagine if, on the morning of May 8, 2015, the left-wing singer-songwriter Billy Bragg had announced that he was no longer playing gigs in Britain because the people had just voted in a right wing Conservative government? Of course he wouldn’t announce such a thing, because that would be bloody stupid.

Well that’s what Bruce Springsteen’s just done. Bollocks to his fans. Bollocks to their Sunday night. Bollocks to their months of mounting excitement. Bollocks to their travel plans. Bollocks to the arrangements they’ve had to make with babysitters, family members and kids… Bollocks to that one guy who’s been waiting 30 years to see the Boss live. Bollocks to the woman who’s probably never going to get this chance ever again. Bollocks to the state of North Carolina and everyone who lives in it.

Whether you agree with what North Carolina has done or you don’t, you surely must agree that Springsteen’s decision to pull out hurts the wrong people. But who cares about that when a matter of principle is at stake, eh?

In Springsteen’s universe, the sins of the legislature must be visited upon his fans.