Apple may be opening a new headquarters in North Carolina – despite anti-LGBT laws and boycotts
Two North Carolina government officials have claimed that Apple is about to decide whether to open a large corporate base in the state – despite the state’s contentious anti-LGBT laws.
The government officials told the Associated Press that the tech giant is in the final stages of deciding whether to open a large corporate hub in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
Wherever it is opened, the new location could create between 5,000 to 10,000 jobs, making it one of the largest corporate sites in the country.
However, the potential move to North Carolina has been strongly criticised due to the state’s harsh laws that allow discrimination against LGBT people.
North Carolina lost a string of big investment ventures after former Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign the contentious HB2 in 2016.
The original HB2 law, voided all local ordinances protecting LGBT rights, banned transgender people from using their preferred bathroom, and permitted businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religious belief.
Brands such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank as well as multiple civil rights groups including the NAACP began a boycott of the state in protest of the law.
HB2 was partially repealed in 2017 and replaced with HB142 by Democrat Governor Roy Cooper, which many LGBT rights groups deemed a ‘partial’ repeal.
Many groups have criticised Apple, lead by out CEO Tim Cook, for potentially bringing millions of dollars worth of investment to the state while it discriminates against LGBT people.
Kate Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign told AP: “Apple has an opportunity to lead by locating and investing in places that fully protect LGBTQ people. North Carolina is not one of those places.”
However, Apple has denied that any decisions have been made regarding the new headquarters.
Speaking to PinkNews, an Apple spokesperson denied that a location for the new corporate hub had been decided.
Apple also added that the timing of the selection and announcement had not been confirmed either.
Estimates in 2017 stated that North Carolina was set to lose $3.76 billion in investment by 2028 if the bill was not repealed.
LGBT activists condemned the legislation, which stops local authorities from passing anti-LGBT-discrimination laws until December 2020.
Activists and campaign groups have criticised the “deal” to repeal the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough and only a full repeal will be satisfactory.
After the passing of HB142, multiple groups including the city of Los Angeles reiterated their dedication to a state-wide boycott of North Carolina.
In 2017, Apple joined 75 other major US companies who called upon the Supreme Court to guarantee employment protections for LGB people.
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Apple has previously voiced its opposition to many political elements in recent years, including several actions of the Trump administration.
Slamming Trump’s executive order that targeted refugees and Muslim residents, Cook said: “In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I’ve made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration — both to our company and to our nation’s future.
“Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.
“I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.”