The owner of the parent company of Coachella's promoter affirms support of LGBTQ community, decries reports to the contrary as "fake news."

By Eric Renner Brown
January 06, 2017 at 11:46 AM EST
Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Coachella announced its lineup to widespread praise earlier this week — headliners for this year’s installment are Radiohead, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar — but buzz of a different nature has overshadowed the famed music festival, which is slated for two weekends this April. Philip Anschutz, the entrepreneur who owns AEG — which owns Coachella’s promoter, Goldenvoice — has come under renewed fire for his ties to anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

The outrage stems from the resurfacing of a 2016 report by pro-LGBTQ organization Freedom for All Americans. In analyzing donors to anti-LGBTQ groups, the FFAA found that through his foundation, Anschutz had donated $110,000 to the Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013; the Southern Poverty Law Center has called the conservative Christian group “virulently anti-gay.” The FFAA found that in the same time period Anschutz donated $50,000 to the National Christian Foundation and that between 2010 and 2013 he gave $30,000 to the Family Research Council, which has written about marriage being between one man and one woman.

In a statement Thursday, Anschutz fired back. “Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news — it is all garbage,” he said. “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regards to sexual orientation.” Anschutz further explained that AEG employs “a wealth of diverse individuals” and does “not tolerate discrimination in any form.” And Anschutz added that “neither [he] nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives,” admitting that when such links have been discovered they “have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”