Coachella Co-owner Charitable Filing Shows support for Anti-LGBTQ Groups
A new tax filing shows The Anschutz Foundation donated at least $325,000 between Dec. 2015 and Nov. 2016 to organizations with an explicit anti-LGBTQ mission, which was first reported by Pitchfork.
Anschutz, 78, owns Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and AEG Live, which is the second most-successful live-events promoter in the world. The company is responsible for a wide array of touring acts via AEG Presents including Elton John, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Billy Joel, Lorde and more.
AEG also owns Coachella organizer Goldenvoice, which also puts on Panorama, Firefly, FYF, Stagecoach and other music festivals.
Anschutz’s history of contributing to anti-LGBTQ organizations prompted criticism in January 2017, when tax filings confirmed an earlier report that Anschutz’s foundation gave $190,000 to anti-LGBTQ groups between 2010 and 2013.
News of Anschutz’s donations prompted activists to launch a #BoycottCoachella campaign last year on social media.
The billionaire businessman denied claims he was anti-LGBTQ as “fake news” and “garbage.”
“I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation,” Anschutz said in a statement at the time.
He also immediately ceased contributions to certain groups upon learning of their anti-LGBTQ mission.
But The Anschutz Foundation’s latest annual filing reveals financial support for anti-LGBTQ organizations continued through at least Nov. 2016.
The Anschutz Foundation donated $40,000 on Nov. 15, 2016 to The Navigators, which listed being LGBTQ alongside incest and sexual abuse as behavior leading to “sexual brokenness” on its website in 2013.
The CEO of Dare 2 Share Ministries, which received $50,000 from the foundation on Aug. 23, 2016, wrote in a 2008 blog post that “homosexuality is a Satanic perversion of God’s gift of sex.”
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Star Parker, the founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, said on “Fox & Friends” last year the rainbow pride flag and the Confederate flag “represent the exact same thing.”
The Anschutz Foundation donated $25,000 to Parker’s organization on Aug. 23, 2016.
The filing confirms the foundation ceased funding in 2016 for three organizations were the focus of the original controversy: Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council and National Christian Foundation.
Beyond support for anti-LGBTQ causes, The Anschutz Foundation contributed to conservative and libertarian organizations the Koch-backed Americans Prosperity and The Federalist Society.
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The foundation also supported Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes cannabis legalization.
Coachella has banned marijuana from its grounds despite the fact the recreational use is now legal in California.
Neither Anschutz nor a representative for the Anschutz Foundation responded to the Daily News’ requests for comment.
Reached for comment, Anschutz’s lawyer told Pitchfork, “One year ago we stated publicly that we unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We stand by those words and reaffirm the commitment we made at that time that The Anschutz Foundation would not knowingly fund any organization that would support anti-LGBTQ initiatives.”
There is no evidence The Anschutz Foundation continues to contribute to anti-LGBTQ groups, as the latest filing only covers contributions made up until Nov. 2016.
Anschutz’s lawyer said the foundation contributes to 800 charities annually, which makes it difficult to determine which groups espouse homophobic views.
For this latest tax filing, the foundation dispersed a total of $63.7 million in grants.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will take place in Indio, Calif., April 13-15 and April 20-22, and will feature headliners Beyoncé, Eminem and The Weeknd.