by Jim Nintzel
Stateside Presents concert promoter Charlie Levy pens an op-ed in the Arizona Republic urging artists to perform in Arizona rather than boycott the state:
While I respect the intentions of the artists protesting what they find to be an unjust law, the practical effect of the boycott is resulting in exactly the opposite of their good-willed intentions.
By not performing in Arizona, artists are harming the very people and places that foster free speech and the open exchange of ideas that serve to counter the closed-mindedness recently displayed by the new law.
The people who will feel the negative effects of the boycott the deepest are local concert venues, including non-profit art-house theatres, independent promoters, fans and the people employed in the local music business. If the boycott continues, it is all but guaranteed that some of these venues will be forced to close their doors.
Think of it this way: What if otherwise outspoken and inspirational activists like Martin Luther King Jr. had turned their backs on the state of Alabama and its citizens because they didn't agree with the discriminatory practices of its government during the critical years of the civil-rights movement? What would have happened if they had chosen to boycott Alabama rather than speak out, organize and effect change?