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Coachella’s Organizer Pissed About Owner’s Anti-Gay Affiliation: “I Was Offended”

Paul Tollett commented on the controversy ahead of the festival's launch this weekend.

Earlier this year, popular music festival Coachella found itself at the center of some controversy when resurfaced reports showed that its owner Philip Anschutz had made donations to anti-LGBT hate groups.

In the days after the news broke, moral debates over whether or not to boycott the festival erupted among longtime attendees and petitions circulated urging headliners to donate earnings to pro-LGBT organizations.

Now, with the music and arts festival set to start this Friday, Coachella organizer Paul Tollett has finally opened up about his feelings on the situation.

INDIO, CA - APRIL 12: Music fans attend day 3 of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2015 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Coachella)
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Reflecting on the outrage, the Goldenvoice CEO told The New Yorker: “No one wants to wake up to see a headline that says, ‘Coachella owner anti-gay.’ I was offended. I run the festival, but it’s rude to say that when you’re a partner with someone.”

Though Anschutz later released a statement claiming that the donations were a mistake and he was no longer making them, Tollett found the apology less than satisfactory. He also criticized the billionaire for saying media reports of his donations were “nothing more than fake news.”

“He’d better say, ‘No fucking way.’ Anything short of that… ” Tollett said, adding, “I’m telling you, these types of things can kill you.”

“There are big ships that go down over small things. You’re riding high, but one wrong thing and you’re voted off the island. It’s scary.”

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will run from April 14 to April 23 with performances from Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, the xx and more.

Texas native with a penchant for strong margaritas, early Babs and tastefully executed side-eye.