No-one can criticise the line-up for this year’s Coachella music festival in California, especially when it boasts headliners Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead.
But the whole event has lost its shine amongst festival-goers when The Washington Post revealed that the owner of Coachella, Philip Anschutz, could be an anti-LGBTQ+ rights advocate.
His company, Anschutz Entertainment Group, owns promotion companies, stadiums, sports teams and festivals all over the world.
But Philip himself has reportedly donated portions of his fortune to groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council (FRC), and the National Christian Foundation.
In particular, the FRC is an extremist group, and on its website it says: “(The) Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.
“It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.”
However, following the reports the public are determined to get their responses heard, and they’ve done that by signing a new online petition.
This petition, made by Lauren L on Care2, is encouraging the festival’s headliners to donate their fees for playing at the festival to pro-LGBTQ+ charities and projects such as The Trevor Project, the Human Rights Campaign and Trans Lifeline.
The petition needs 7000 signatures, but is currently at just over 6,200, so there is still more support needed.
In the petition’s description Lauren also claims that Philip “is not climate friendly,” as he owns an oil and gas company and that he’s even sued a town for being anti-fracking.
Transgender woman and LGBTQ+ advocate Sarah Rose spoke to Billboard and said: “My genuine hope is that these artists can turn a bad situation into a positive one.
“I’m a diehard music fan and a musician myself, and I strongly believe that music shouldn’t be used as a means to discriminate.”
After the initial allegations about Philip Anschutz were first released, he gave an official statement which wasn’t well received by the LGBTQ+ community.
He told Rolling Stone: “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.”
Philip also stated that he has now ceased all donations to these groups, and has denied that he was even aware of his company’s contributions in the first place.
Words Maria Loizou