The Coachella music festival is currently in the headlines following the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Beyonce’s headline performance last night, however, the political views of its owner are not so well documented.
Beyonce’s time on the Coachella stage has been celebrated as an important musical moment for black rights and social awareness, as well as being a fantastic show, but there is an irony at the heart of this as the owner of the festival, Philip Anschutz, has very non-progressive views.
Anschutz, who owns the AEG entertainment group which operates Coachella alongside a host of other companies, including the Los Angeles Lakers, the O2 Arena and the Regal Cinemas chain, has given money to such anti-LGBT groups as the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom. Both of these have been recognised as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
The FRC in the past have called for all pro-LGBT+ staff hired during the Obama administration to be removed from the US State Department, accused gay people of attempting a ‘Christian Holocaust’ and called paedophilia ‘a homosexual problem’. The ADF have tried to repeal sodomy laws, looking to make the act of homosexual sex illegal, as well as opposing same-sex marriage, civil unions and the opportunity for gay couples to adopt children.
When complaints arose in the press over his support of these organisations, Anschutz promised to stop donating. However, he instead transferred his support into funding Republican candidates who are not only anti-LGBT+, but anti-abortion, pro-gun and climate change deniers.
Model and actress Cara Delevingne started the hashtag #NoChella to express her anger at Anschutz’s views, boycotting the festival. When she then praised Beyonce’s performance on social media, some fans expressed confusion over her apparent promotion of the festival. Delevingne responded with a social media post stating, “I refuse to go to a festival that is owned by someone who is anti-LGBT and pro gun. I am allowed to shame that man and the festival and show my appreciation of an artist at the same time”.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.