Billionaire Philip Anschutz, whose portfolio includes Coachella and London’s O2 Arena, gave more than $1million to anti-LGBT+ causes in 2018, despite previously denying the donations.
As of October 2019, the 80-year-old Christian conservative was ranked by Forbes as the 41st richest person in the USA, with a net worth of $11.5billion.
Anschutz, the head of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), was previously accused of making donations to anti-LGBT+ hate groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC) via The Anschutz Foundation.
The revelations originally came from a 2013 tax return released by Freedom for All Americans, a political action group that had looked at funding for a number of the most influential and powerful anti-LGBT groups in the US.
Anschutz called the allegations “fake news” and furiously denied the claims,saying that AEG would “immediately cease all contributions” to groups which “finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives”.
He later gave $1million to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and said: “I support the rights of all people and oppose discrimination and intolerance against the LGBTQ community.”
While the document does not show donations to FRC and ADF, it does show that the Coachella owner’s company gave $1million to Colorado Christian University (CCU) for a new student centre.
The university threatens students with suspension and expulsion for same-sex “sexual activity” and “dressing or acting differently than the biological gender that God created a student to be”.
According to CCU’s student handbook: “Sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual contact to be the unique expression of covenanted love within heterosexual marriage and are oriented toward family life… The university will not tolerate premarital or extramarital sexual activity whether between a man and a woman or between two people of the same gender.”
It adds: “When a student decides to identify as a gender other than their biological one, by requesting a change of pronouns or surgical response to their sense that they are in the ‘wrong’ body, it is in theirs, and the university’s, best interest for them to leave the university community.
“It is also in the best interest of the university and the student for them to separate themselves from the CCU community if she or he pursues a medical course of action to physically change their biological gender to that of another sex.”
AEG also gave $20,000 to Sky Ranch Christian Camps. The camp says on its website that it believes “that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral and therefore sin.”
It adds: “We believe that God created the human race, male and female, and that all conduct with the intent to adopt a gender other than one’s birth gender is immoral and therefore sin.”
The Anschutz Foundation told Billboard: “Presently, less than 5 percent of the average annual grants awarded by the Foundation go to conservative or faith-based organisations.”
In 2018, Cara Delevingne boycotted Coachella because it was owned by Anschutz, amid accusations of his donations to anti-LGBT+ causes.