Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr cancelled a gig saying he had to 'take a stand against hatred'Getty / Reuters

Ringo Starr has cancelled an forthcoming performance in North Carolina in protest at the state's controversial transgender bathroom law. The former Beatles drummer said he "had to take a stand".

Starr had been scheduled to perform at the Koka Booth Ampitheatre in Cary, west of Raleigh, on 18 June. In a statement he said: "I'm sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love."

His decision to axe the show comes as North Carolina's governor tries to stem mounting backlash over the state's transgender law. The controversial North Carolina law, signed by Governor Pat McCrory in March, forces transgender people to use public toilets that match their birth genders.

McCrory has made it illegal for a transgender individual to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Similarly, towns can no longer prevent businesses from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Two companies - PayPal and Deutsche Bank - have announced their intention to scrap plans to add jobs in the state in opposition to the regressive legislation. Several other major corporations, including Google, Apple, IBM and American Airlines, have also condemned the North Carolina law and similar "religious freedom" measures in southern states like Mississippi which have been condemned as an attack on the LGBT community.

Supporters of the legislation claim the measures are necessary to keep women and children safe and to protect religious liberties. Starr is the latest entertainer to cancel a US gig over the state legislation Sky News reports.

Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams also refused to perform in North Carolina. Springsteen called the law "an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognising the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress."

Other artists including Cyndi Lauper, Gregg Allman, Brandi Carlile and Jimmy Buffet have spoken out against the discriminatory law but have chosen not to cancel their North Carolina performances. The performers all explained that their loyalty is to their fans, not to the state of North Carolina.