A bunch of gay and LGBTQ publications crowed this week over the “super queer” lineup of musicians that will perform at The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April. But few of them mentioned that the festival’s billionaire owner, Philip Anschutz, donates money to the venomously anti-LGBTQ Republican Party.
Yes, it’s true that this year’s lineup includes openly queer musicians like Blood Orange, Christine and the Queens, Kaytranada, King Princess, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Smith, Sophie and more.
But Spin magazine has found that in 2018, Anschutz donated $134,400 to “Republican candidates, party groups and political action committees,” with no money donated at all to Democrats. Last year, he donated $200,000 to Republicans.
Republicans, naturally, support Trump’s desire to ban trans people from the military and to roll back state and federalLGBTQ anti-discrimination protections in the name of “religious freedom.”
Anschutz has a long history of donating to anti-LGBTQ groups. From 2010 to 2013, the Anschutz Foundation donated $110,000 to the anti-LGBTQ legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom; $50,000 to the anti-LGBTQ organizing group, the National Christian Foundation; and $30,000 to the Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center-certified hate group that specifically targets LGBTQ people.
Anschutz is also a climate change denier and personally funds a handful of weird conservative groups that oppose marijuana legalization, support GOP judges and oppose depictions of LGBTQ life in film.
In 2017, Anschutz called reports of his foundation’s anti-LGBTQ donations “fake news,” and claimed that his foundation had ceased all donations to anti-LGBTQ groups (which apparently doesn’t include Republicans). He also said that he has personally “endorsed” pro-LGBTQ foundations, but he didn’t name the groups or explain how he “endorsed” them, making his claim pretty much meaningless.
In short, the funds generated by Coachella help fund hate, which is especially sad considering how many LGBTQ artists, allies and attendees have graced his festival.
In past years, some LGBTQ fans have urged performing artists to donate to LGBTQ organizations to help balance out Anschutz’s work. But LGBTQ media outlets need to do their part too and remind Coachella attendees exactly where their investments go.