North Carolina is getting hit where it hurts — its pants. Following the passage of the state’s controversial “anti-LGBT” law, a number of entities (public and private alike) have made clear their protest, some in more creative ways than others. And the latest to jump on the inclusivity bandwagon is none other than popular porn site, XHamster.com. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, no one in the Tar Heel state is able to access the site’s content — instead, visitors with a North Carolina IP address will only see a black screen.
According to XHamster, this lockdown on its entertainment will remain in effect until House Bill 2 is repealed. Since being passed on March 23, the law has effectively banned local governments from instituting anti-discrimination measures that would protect the rights of the LGBT community, and needless to say, incited major criticism. In explaining the porn site’s decision, XHMaster.com spokesperson, Mike Kulich, noted in the service’s belief in equality.
“We have spent the last 50 years fighting for equality for everyone and these laws are discriminatory which XHamster.com does not tolerate,” he said in an official statement. “Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one. We will not standby and pump revenue into a system that promotes this type of garbage. We respect all sexualities and embrace them.”
And so too, apparently, do the porn viewers of North Carolina. “Back in March, we had 400,000 hits for the term ‘Transsexual’ from North Carolina alone,” Kulich said of the search history in the state. “People from that state searched ‘Gay’ 319,907 times,” he added. Soon, the spokesman said, XHamster will be supplementing its black screen in North Carolina with a petition for the law’s repeal. “Hopefully, it will get as many signatures as the ‘transsexual’ searches,” he said.
Representatives from just about every industry in the country have spoken out against House Bill 2, with companies from Google to Lowes to American Airlines issuing statements expressing their discontent. New York officials banned all non-mandatory travel to the Tar Heel state shortly after the legislation’s passage, and Bruce Springstein even canceled his Sunday concert at the Greensboro Coliseum in protest.
But the absence of porn (at least from XHamster.com), Kulich says, may be what the government of North Carolina really needs. “I think that porn has the power to do what Bruce Springsteen can’t,” he said.