After Charlotte, N.C., passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in February that allows transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity, the North Carolina Legislature fired back Wednesday by approving a bill to overturn the Charlotte ordinance.

Public outrage has followed. Cities including San Francisco and New York have banned nonessential public employee travel to North Carolina, and entities including the National Basketball Association have threatened to take their business elsewhere.

Despite the opposition to his state’s reversal of the Charlotte ordinance, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory brushed aside the criticism in an interview with NBC News.

McCrory’s defiance has only increased protests. On Twitter, transgender people have responded by sharing selfies in opposition to McCrory’s reasoning that men shouldn’t “use women’s bathroom[s]” and vice versa. Three people filed a lawsuit and received support from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union.

McCrory believes a “smear campaign” has emerged in opposition to the state’s bill, but even his own government isn’t on his side. Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s attorney general, stated Tuesday that his office would not defend the law in court.

“There is politically correct blackmail being directed toward some of our businesses,” said McCrory, arguing that the outrage surrounding the bill is the result of “very coordinated political theater.”

Watch the full interview below.

—Posted by Emma Niles.

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