AEG, the company that is in charge of Coachella, is under attack right now for being owned by a man who has a long history of donating to anti-LGBT organizations.
The music festival has always been inclusive, using many headlining artists who are outspoken in their support of the LGBT community.
However, Phil Anschutz, who is the owner of AEG, movie theater chain, Regal, and the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, does not share the same gay friendly history and reputation.
Anschutz’s charity, the Anschutz Family Foundation has made significant financial contributions to organizations, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that litigates abortion and same-sex marriage cases, and the Family Research Council, which is infamous for its anti-LGBT hate rhetoric.
Also, during the 2016 campaign, Anschutz donated over a million dollars to Republican political candidates in an effort to help them win.
When this information was discovered, people on social media took aim at Anschutz, threatening to boycott Coachella.
Anschutz released a statement in response saying:
“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news — it is all garbage. 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 then added that “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.”
So, it’ll be interesting to see how people will react now in light of the accusations and his subsequent rebuttal and defense.