South Carolina

CEO moving headquarters from SC to California over LGBT bill

Anthony Watson
Anthony Watson

A senate bill that would ban transgender men and women from using the bathroom of their choice has caused a Charleston-based company to decide to move to the West Coast.

Anthony Watson, CEO of Uphold, described himself as an “openly gay, British CEO” and said the company will move its U.S. corporate headquarters from Charleston to Los Angeles. Uphold is a financial services company that claims to have handled $830 million in transactions since its founding in 2014.

“I have watched in shock and dismay as legislation has been abruptly proposed or enacted in several states across the union seeking to invalidate the basic protections and rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) U.S. citizens,” he stated on the company’s website.”

Watson specifically called out S.C. Sen. Lee Bright for introducing a bill similar to North Carolina’s recently-passed law that blocks local governments from passing LGBT-inclusive and 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,” he said. “We will stand firm in our commitment to fairness, equality and inclusion and our strong conviction that we can make a difference by living our core values. It’s the right thing to do for our members, employees, partners and the communities in which we live and work.”