PayPal announced Tuesday morning that it has abandoned its plans for a massive global operations center, which would have brought 400 new jobs to Charlotte, North Carolina. The company was unequivocal that the decision was made because of the state’s passage of HB2, a sweeping law that blocks cities from enacting LGBT nondiscrimination protections and mandates that transgender people use the wrong bathrooms for their gender identities.
CEO Dan Schulman explained in a statement that “the new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”
Schulman asserted that the decision to not proceed with the Charlotte center “is a clear and unambiguous one” that reflects the company’s “deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect.” Because PayPal’s employees would not have equal rights under North Carolina law, employing them there is “simply untenable.”
The move by PayPal is the latest in an ever-growing backlash against the state for rushing through the discriminatory law — lawmakers passed it in a single calendar day as retribution for Charlotte passing LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
Other tech companies have similarly been exercising their economic muscle in the state. Not only did many sign onto the Human Rights Campaign’s letter condemning the legislation, Google Ventures announced last week that it would not back any companies in North Carolina until HB2 is repealed. This would be a significant loss for the bio-tech and life sciences industries growing in the state’s Research Triangle.
The CEO of PepsiCo, a conglomerate originally founded in North Carolina, also attacked the legislation this week. Indra Nooyi wrote to Gov. Pat McCrory (R) that he should urge the legislature to repeal HB2. The law, she wrote, “is at odds with our company’s historic experience in North Carolina; and is contrary to our values as a company.” Nooyi warned McCrory that “this law is undermining our collective efforts to advance North Carolina’s long-term interests.”
When PayPal first announced the operations center a few weeks ago, McCrory boasted, “North Carolina is the ideal destination for innovation-based, worldwide companies like PayPal. Today’s announcement means that we can add another prominent name to the state’s growing list of technology businesses with major operations here.”
McCrory has repeatedly denied that HB2 poses a threat to the state’s economy.