Coachella Parent Company’s Owner Named Among ‘Enemies of Equality’ for LGBT Americans
Coachella has risen to the ranks of music's biggest festivals by attracting a socially diverse array of performers and attendees — but according to a new report, the owner of the event's parent company, AEG Worldwide, is one of the country's biggest donors to groups working to debunk climate change science and undermine LGBT issues.
AEG owner Philip Anschutz is among a roster of deep-pocketed contributors to socially conservative causes listed in the Washington Post, which stems from research undertaken by Freedom for All Americans, a self-described “bipartisan campaign seeking nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide." Tracking "more than 200 anti-LGBT bills pending in 34 states," the group has identified a coordinated effort to push back against recent legislation enforcing equal rights and curb climate change.
For those familiar with Anschutz's politics, the news is more disappointing than surprising. "Phil Anschutz’s extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups ... is shocking," ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii said in a statement. “At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history."
Social media is already abuzz with reactions to the report, which seems likely to result in public pressure on artists confirmed for this year's event — a list of progressive-friendly performers that includes Beyonce, Radiohead, and Kendrick Lamar. It remains to be seen how Anschutz — or the organizers directly involved with Coachella — will respond.
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