George Takei, others call for boycott of Indiana over religious freedom bill

George Takei
Gay rights activist and actor George Takei is calling for a boycott of Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed the religious freedom bill into law Thursday.

Takei wrote on his Facebook page, which has over eight million followers, "I am outraged that Gov. Pence would sign such a divisive measure into law. He has made it clear that LGBT couples, like Brad and me, are now unwelcome in his state. The notion that this bill was not driven by animus against our community is belied by the record and frankly insulting. I will join many in demanding that socially responsible companies withdraw their business, conferences and support from his state and that LGBTs and our friends and supporters refuse to visit or do business with Indiana. It is a sad day for the Hoosier state, and indeed for the many good people of Indiana, for whom this law now stands as a terrible blight upon that state's reputation."

The post got over 17,000 shares.

Another celebrity whose response was widely embraced and shared on social media was television and Broadway star Audra McDonald. Over the course of several tweets, she spoke to Gov. Pence.

"Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all? Or could you maybe send us a list of where it's okay for us to go? Might the law apply to me? (I'm black) Or maybe I should fire my gay band members just to be on the safe side. Or MAYBE... we need to stick to singing in states that don't legislate hate? Or MAYBE I donate the money I make in your state while I'm there to organizations that will combat your hateful legislation. Yep, that's what I'll do. Hey, @HRC [Human Rights Campaign], get ready for a little money coming your way from Indiana via me to you! Have at it!"

Possible 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined the chorus speaking out against the law on social media.

"Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn't discriminate against ppl bc of who they love #LGBT," Clinton tweeted.

While conservative groups applauded the move this week, many local businesses are displaying a sticker saying "we serve everyone" to distance themselves from the controversial bill.

"We welcome everyone. We're proud to serve all of the diverse individuals that make up our community," The Children's Museum of Indianapolis tweeted Thursday in response to several people who wrote they would no longer visit the museum because of Indiana's ruling.

Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field, which is based in Indianapolis, said in a statement, "As the most diverse sport in the Olympic movement, track and field has long been at the forefront of inclusion. USA Track & Field advocates for equal opportunity, access and treatment for all people and condemns discrimination of any kind. We are deeply concerned by the legislation Governor Pence has signed into law and stand with the International Olympic Committee, who in December pledged to strengthen the Sixth Fundamental Principle of Olympism, to include non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

Salesforce, a business technology company, is also boycotting, with CEO Mark Benioff tweeting, "Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination."

Apple CEO Tim Cook echoed the sentiments of others and turned his attention to Arkansas, where lawmakers are debating similar legislation.

"Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228," Cook tweeted.

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard urged Pence to reconsider, and the Indianapolis-based Disciples of Christ said it was reconsidering holding its convention in the city. Gen Con, which draws over 56,000 to Indianapolis, has also said it might reconsider if the bill became law.