PayPal withdraws plan for Charlotte expansion over discrimination law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 400 jobs and $3.6 million investment PayPal planned on bringing to Charlotte with a new operations center will no longer happen.

PayPal announced plans two weeks ago to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, but on Tuesday the company said they would be withdrawing those plans in lieu of the passing of House Bill 2. It's a non-discrimination law that leaves out protections for the LGBT community and requires transgender people to use public bathrooms assigned to their biological sex, rather than the sex they identify with.

According to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman, "The legislation invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law."

Schulman went on to say that the new law perpetuates discrimination and violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture. "As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte."

Schulman pointed out that he "regrets that PayPal will not have the opportunity to be a part of the Charlotte community and to count as colleagues the skilled and talented people of the region. As a company that is committed to the principle that everyone deserves to live without fear of discrimination simply for being who they are, becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable."

The company will seek an alternative location for their operations center.

PayPal had not yet signed a legally-binding community economic development agreement, so there is no breach of contract, the North Carolina Department of Commerce said.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts called PayPal's announcement "deeply concerning."

"This has a real impact on Charlotte families and North Carolina families and I'm just urging our legislature to find some kind of legislative remedy as soon as possible," Roberts told Channel 9.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who represents Mecklenburg County, wants his peers at the statehouse to repeal the law.

“The loss of PayPal was as painful as it was predictable. Tech companies have no interest in appearing to side with discrimination,” Jackson said.

Gov. Pat McCrory said he's open to improvements in the law.

"I'm going to respect people who disagree with our basic commonsense rules,” McCrory said.

He wouldn't answer whether he thinks the law has affected the economy.

The news of PayPal’s decision comes just days after Braeburn Pharmaceuticals announced that it was reevaluating plans for a $25 million expansion in Durham over HB2, and Google Ventures announced that it would no longer invest money in the state.

The CEO of Red Ventures, a large marketing and sales company headquartered in Fort Mill and has an office in Charlotte, wrote an open letter to McCrory, that reads in part -- "As a CEO who is committed to expanding our Charlotte presence by 500 people in 2016 and thousands after that, I am also forced to seriously reconsider adding more jobs in a state that tolerates discrimination and allows political interests to interfere with doing what is right for all citizens."

The vice chair of the NCGOP blasted PayPal’s announcement. He described the move as “corporate hypocrisy and bullying at its worst.”

Meanwhile the NBA All-Star Game, the NCAA tournament and the ESPN X-Games are reevaluating their own plans to hold events in North Carolina over HB2.

Meanwhile, late this afternoon Sealed Air, another big company coming to Charlotte, told Channel 9 its plans to relocate toare on track and have not changed.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: