This week, music goers were treated to the official lineup of this year’s Coachella. Although it was enough to make any rhythmically-inclined millennial want to forego rent for a month to purchase a ticket, many still recall the controversy surrounding last year’s festival. In 2017, it was revealed that Philip Anschutz, owner of Coachella’s parent company, donated money to right-wing and anti-LGBTQ organizations.
Shortly after the information came to light, Anschutz released a statement confirming his pro-LGBTQ stance and claiming he was unaware of where his money was going.
“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
Both the Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. 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.”
But it appears that Anschutz is back to his old ways. Fader recently reported that he gave almost $200,000 to Republican politicians and Super PACs in 2017. With some controversial stances, the recipients of his donations hold starkly different views than the festivals with many liberal attendees and headliners, such as this year’s Beyonce and The Weeknd.
In 2017, he also made a donation of $138,000 through the Anschutz Corporation to the National Republican Senate Committee, which aims to achieve a Republican Senate majority. He also made personal donations amounting to $13,500 to politicians like Senator Cory Gardner, Rep Scott Tipton, Rep Mike Coffman, Senator Deb Fischer, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In case you’re not brushed up on politics, here’s a little track record of these conservative figures: Senator Gardner (chair of the National Republican Senate Committee) is a pro-gun senator. After the Las Vegas shooting, he came out against gun control in Time. “This is a tragedy, and if you’re trying to politicize it, or if anyone is trying to politicize it, then shame on them.”
In 2013, Rep Tipton’s spokesperson Josh Green clarified the politician’s opinion that marriage should be between a man and a woman. He also voted to defund Planned Parenthood five times and voted against equal pay for women, as well as voting against the two causes in numerous other situations.
In 2012, Rep Coffman contributed to the birther movement, publicly questioning President Obama’s citizenship during a speech at a fundraiser. “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” He also voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and he cosponsored a piece of legislation that would have redefined rape.
Senator Fischer was also behind a charge to defund Planned Parenthood. She’s also a big supporter of the March for Life, which she wrote about last year, following the Women’s March on Washington DC.
Speaker Ryan perhaps needs no introduction, as he’s been a very vocal conservative since before running against Obama as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. His most recent cause has been pushing for Trump’s tax bill, which experts say will add $2 trillion to the national debt.
So, if Anschutz is reading this, we hope this information will be enough for you to cease your contributions. And for those planning a trip to Coachella this year, we hope you’ll reconsider handing your hard-earned money over to a billionaire who supports these kinds of politicians.