Coachella Owner Donates to Anti-LGBT Groups, Insists He’s Not Anti-LGBT


Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom Among Recipients

The lineup for Coachella is getting people excited, as usual. The 16-year old arts and music festival brings out amazing artists every year. But now, three months before the 2017 sold out show is set to begin, attention is being drawn to the owner’s anti-LGBT activities.

Philip Anschutz, owner of the company that runs Coachella, also owns the Anschutz Foundation. Among other causes, the Anschutz Foundation donates to Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and the National Christian Foundation, as Teen Vogue reports.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is an anti-LGBT legal group that ThinkProgress has called the "800-pound Gorilla of the Christian Right."

The Family Research Council is a hate group with a similar agenda. FRC called for the Trump administration to "ferret out" pro-LGBT State Department employees and replace them with homophobic conservatives.

The National Christian Foundation funds several anti-LGBT groups, including the two listed above, as well as Family Policy Alliance and Liberty Counsel, which is best-known for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

"Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage," Anschutz said in a statement. "I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. 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 says, not explaining how funding groups whose job is to promote discrimination is supporting quality.

"Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups."

That claim has not been independently verified by NCRM.

Coachella itself doesn’t discriminate when hiring performers. This year’s festival includes Kehlani, who is openly bisexual. It also features headline performances by Beyoncé, who was outspoken against North Carolina’s HB2 and finished the first part of her Formation World Tour with a tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Other noteworthy performers are Father John Misty, who donated the proceeds of his Charlotte, North Carolina show to Time Out Youth in protest of HB2 and Lorde, who was protested by Westboro Baptist Church over her stage name and responded by asking fans to kiss church members and wear rainbow over Twitter before deleting the tweets.

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Image by Alan Paone via Wikimedia