Coachella owner hit with fresh accusations of funding anti-LGBTQ groups

AEG's Philip Anschutz previously described the claims as 'fake news'

Philip Anschutz, owner of Coachella and its parent company AEG, has been hit with fresh accusations of donating money to groups who take a strong stance against LGBTQ issues.

Last week, it was reported that Anschutz had been a donor to groups who advocated for some highly controversial causes.

The Washington Post revealed that between 2010 and 2013 Anschutz’s Anschutz Foundation actively funded the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the National Christian Foundation – three groups known to lobby and campaign against LGBTQ rights. Many of the policies listed on the Family Research Council’s website have been viewed as anti-gay rights, anti-transgender rights and anti-abortion.

Following the report, Anschutz released a statement dismissing the claims as “fake news” and “all garbage”. He said: “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation… Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”

Pitchfork now reports that Anschutz donated to these groups more recently than previously reported, as recent as 2015. A tax filing shows that the Anschutz Foundation donated $75,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom and $15,000 to National Christian Foundation in the year ending in November 2015.

Cole Finegan, an attorney at Hogan Lovells, a law firm that represents AEG, told Pitchfork that the contributions stopped after 2015. “Once it was explained to us that there was an issue, it stopped,” Finegan said. “Once we were approached and it was explained to us then the donations stopped.”

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The Coachella 2017 line-up was revealed last week – boasting Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce as headliners alongside the likes of The xx, Father John Misty, Travis Scott, Lorde, Mac DeMarco and many more.

Since this controversy has arose, a petition has called for the Coachella headliners to donate their payment to pro-LGBTQ groups. It has been signed by over 6,000 people, correct at the time of publishing.