Coachella owner Philip Anschutz responds to anti-LGBT allegations

Anschutz has denied being homophobic himself, but has not disputed funding a number of far right affiliated, anti-LGBTQ organisations

It was widely reported yesterday that live music magnate Philip Anschutz has previously funded groups which promote anti-LGBTQ sentiment and climate change denial. Anschutz is the owner of AEG, the parent company of London’s o2 Arena and Coachella festival with the news first reported shortly after the latter’s lineup was announced. The ensuing controversy has, understandably, sparked a backlash against the festival.

The claims, which originated on Uproxx, state that Anschutz funded anti-LGBT groups incluidng Alliance Defending Freedom, National Christian Foundation, and Family Research Council. A number of these groups have been listed as ‘extremist’ organisations by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Anschutz has now refuted claims that he is homophobic, or that he knowingly supported anti-LGBTQ groups.

“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage,” he told The LA Times. “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.”

Anschutz’s charitable organisation- The Anschutz Foundation- was first linked to a number of anti-LGBTQ and climate change denial groups by The Washington Post in 2016. Between 2010 and 2013 the foundation is reported to have given around $110,000 (£88,868) to Alliance Defending Freedom, $50,000 (£40,394) to National Christian Foundation, and $30,000 (£24,236) to Family Research Council. Anschutz went on to say, however, that he did not continue to fund these groups once he had discovered that they were promoting anti-LGBTQ activities. “Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organisation with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives.” He said. “When it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organisations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”