Anthony Watson, gay, CEO, Uphold, South Carolina
Anthony Watson, gay, CEO, Uphold, South Carolina

Openly Gay CEO Moves Company From South Carolina Over Anti-LGBT Bill

“Some of you may be aware that Uphold’s U.S. headquarters is based in Charleston, South Carolina. In recent days, we have been made aware that South Carolina Sen. Lee Bright has introduced a bill largely mirroring North Carolina’s controversial law that blocks local governments from passing LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances. As such, we feel compelled to take action to oppose the discrimination being proposed in South Carolina and protect our LGBT employees.

Today, Uphold has taken the difficult decision to move its U.S. corporate Headquarters from Charleston, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California.”

— Anthony Watson, the openly gay British CEO of Uphold (a web-platform for cash and commodity transactions) explaining his decision to move his company after South Carolina state senator Lee Bright recently introduced an anti-LGBT bill. Similar to North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law, Bright’s bill would force transgender people to use restrooms matching their assigned-at-birth gender and would forbid any cities from passing LGBT anti-discrimination protections.

The backlash against North Carolina’s law has been swift and resounding. Numerous musicians have boycotted the state, several city governments have pledged to no longer send workers to North Carolina for business trips and analysts predict that the city will lose millions as a result.

Over 53 percent of state residents think that it’s hurting their state. Yesterday, activists delivered a petition with over 185,000 signatures to the state capitol asking for the bill’s repeal — concurrently, about 54 activists got arrested while protesting the bill on capitol property. Over 150 North Carolina mental health professionals signed a letter also calling for the bill’s repeal. Four North Carolina congressmen filed a repeal to the anti-LGBT law but state governor Pat McCrory remains defiantly in support of the law. 

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