Owner Of Coachella Music Festival Denies Anti-LGBT Connection

Billionaire Philip Anschutz says claims he is tied to anti-LGBTQ groups are "nothing more than fake news."

The lineup for this year’s Coachella is bigger than ever, with Beyoncé, Radiohead, New Order, and Kendrick Lamar all slated to take the stage in Indio, California.

But fans might not be so eager to attend if they knew the anti-gay background of the family that sponsors the annual outdoor music festival.

Phillip Anschutz
Getty

Coachella is operated by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, started by Denver businessman Philip Anschutz, a 77-year-old billionaire who also oversees the Anschutz Family Foundation, which donated nearly $200,000 to anti-LGBT groups in the past five years. That includes $30,000 to the Family Research Council and $110,000 to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which fights LGBT equality in the courts.

Will Heath/NBC/NBCU

Reports of Anschutz’s link to such enemies of equality surfaced almost immediately after this year’s lineup was announced, with some calling for a
Chik-fil-A style boycott, using #NoChella on social media.

In addition to Queen Bey and Radiohead, the lineup includes queer and queer-friendly artists like Tacocat and the xx. Do these artists have an obligation to boycott Coachella?

“I have my fingers crossed that some of my favorite artists who are on the bill will take a stand against raising money for an individual or organization that is actively working to further oppress and marginalize LGBT people,” says out singer Logan Lynn, who is not on the Coachella bill. “So far, I haven’t seen anything like this… but I think we will. These moments matter, and as consumers, we hold all of the cards.”

AEG’s holdings also include the L.A. Lakers, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena in London, and Anschutz, who has a net worth of more than $12 billion, owns the right-leaning Weekly Standard and Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas.

The normally reclusive magnate released a statement this week calling accusations of homophobia “garbage.”

“I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation,” he claimed. “We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us — the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.”

He insists neither he nor the foundation has intentionally funded any groups with an anti-LGBT agenda, “and when it has come to my attention… that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions.”

h/t: Refinery 29

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