Coachella-founder Philip Anschutz may be labeled a “recluse” by some, but he’s labeled by all a “Christian conservative.”
As anyone in the LGBTQ+ community knows, Christian conservative spells “bad news.”
Anschutz is shown to have ties to and has made sizable donations to the following groups, according to Pitchfork:
The Navigators ($40,000; donation dated November 15, 2016) A 2013 document on their website lists being LGBTQ alongside incest and sexual abuse as behavior leading to “sexual brokenness.”
Dare 2 Share Ministries ($50,000; August 23, 2016) Greg Stier, who’s namedon this group’s website as its founder and CEO, wrote on the site in a 2008 blog post, “Homosexuality is a Satanic perversion of God’s gift of sex.”
Young Life ($185,000; June 21 and November 15, 2016) This Christian youth ministry’s website has a 2017 policy stating that anyone who is “sexually active outside of a heterosexual marriage relationship” shouldn’t work or volunteer for the organization.
Center for Urban Renewal and Education ($25,000; August 23, 2016) This group’s founder and president, Star Parker, said on “Fox & Friends” last year that the Confederate flag and the rainbow LGBTQ pride flag “represent the exact same thing.” She has also said that gay marriage and legal abortion show that “we’re sick as a country.”
Movieguide Awards ($25,000; July 19, 2016) This annual awards show is held by Movieguide, a reviews site that includes varying degrees of “homosexual worldview” in its ratings criteria. In a 2012 article on the site, Movieguide founder Ted Baehr and editor Tom Snyder referred to “evils like adultery, rape, homosexuality, lying, arrogance, theft, murder, and malice.” They also wrote, “Kirk Cameron was perfectly correct when he said homosexuality is “unnatural’ and ‘destructive.”
Y. I. K. E. S.
With five (yes, FIVE) anti-gay groups on the books and likely many more anti-gay sentiments in his heart, people have begun trending #boycottCoachella.
Hi friendly annual reminder that the owner of Coachella donates tens of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT and Republican corporations every year, don’t go, don’t support it, have a little integrity #boycottcoachella pic.twitter.com/McyiX5ASPR
— Leah (@LeahGaribay) April 9, 2019
3 years of endless press about Philip Anschutz (owner of @coachella) who donates huge amounts of money to PRO GUN / PRO LIFE politicians & ANTI LGBTQ+ initiatives.
People still go.
People want to belong to “cool shit”.
People really don’t care.
— Joss Jaycoff (@JossJaycoff) April 14, 2019
Coachella begins this Friday which means the next 2 weeks will be full of cultural appropriation & celebs who claim to be liberals, feminists & lgbt allies but have no problem performing on a stage owned by a homophobic, pro gun & anti abortion rights monster #BoycottCoachella
— ♎️ (@yets_a) April 10, 2019
— Thomas Karr (@wthomaskarr) April 13, 2019
#BoycottCoachella #Coachella2019 owner Philip Anschutz donated over $200,000 to conservative groups opposing LGBTQ rights, abortion & support the NRA.
Don't give your money to a Billionaire funneling his profits into the radical right wing agenda. pic.twitter.com/otfcBL7fch
— Michael Gabriel (@Chemicalvip) April 12, 2019
Coachella isn’t something that I support and I never will. Sure it sounds like great fun but the organiser of coachella is about everything I’m not about and you shouldn’t be about it either. #Coachella #BoycottCoachella https://t.co/ajL5Hu8P6h
— 💫Maddy💫 (@Its_me_MaddyO) April 12, 2019
— David Clarke (@davidclarke76) April 11, 2019
Coachella, the music festival which is part of Anschutz Entertainment (of which Anschutz is the CEO of), having anti-LGBTQ+ ties is only matched in irony by former Republican representative and highly anti-LGBTQ+-legislator Aaron Schock (R-IL) being captured making out with dudes at the music festival this past weekend.
But rather than boycott the festival outright, Ariana Grande, who is one of this year’s headliners, decided to do something about it.
— Ariana Grande Today (@ArianaToday) April 15, 2019
— Agustin (@agusdiazagb) April 15, 2019
Omg Ariana really said fuck you to the CEO of Coachella and displayed an LGBTQ flag… legend #AriChella
— Rafa 🛸 (@raindropsrafa) April 15, 2019
The performance does seem like a giant middle finger to Anschutz.
ARIANA REALLY DECIDED TO SAY THE BIGGEST FUCK YOU TO COACHELLA OWNER WHO IS A FUCKING HOMOPHOBE AND DISPLAYED THIS HUGE ASS PRIDE FLAG AT THE END OF HER PERFORMANCE NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR THIS QUEER QUEEN 🌈#Arichella pic.twitter.com/us0KepiEUI
— yara (@xbasicunicorn) April 15, 2019
ariana put a pride flag at the end of her set as a fuck you to the festival donating to anti lgbt organizations she won
— cailey (@shockingcabeyo) April 15, 2019
The fact that Ariana ended Coachella with a huge pride flag and fireworks is everything.
— 😊😊😊 (@thankujells) April 15, 2019
— ɹǝlʎʇ (@GrandeDikEnergy) April 15, 2019
But, some are skeptical of her intentions and the effectiveness of this particular gesture.
ariana showing the pride flag at a known homophobic festival just shows that she’s trying to exploit the lgbt community without actually caring abt it
— rach (@emilyslilia) April 15, 2019
yall are like omg ariana put a pride flag up at the end to say fuck you to the ceo of coachella for being homophobic😍😫😘… if she wanted to say a fuck you to the ceo of coachella she should’ve refused to preform and told her fans not to spend their money on him she did nothing
— caitlin (@dumbstufflive) April 15, 2019
ariana after displaying a pride flag at cochella pic.twitter.com/D6sRWFZlpy
— Janine (@janeejpg) April 16, 2019
The owner of Coachella seeing Ariana Grande have a pride flag display be like pic.twitter.com/QFaTK9lKdQ
— chris🌸💮 (@joseph_kidd_) April 16, 2019
This is the third times she’s used her status as an ‘ally’ to gain clout and seem like a supported. Fuck off. (2/2)
— regan (@doraingay) April 17, 2019
Ariana Grande projected a pride flag at a concert she didn’t throw the first brick at stonewall ppl need to chill
— Libby (@libbytofig) April 16, 2019
Anschutz has addressed the issue of his donations to these anti-LGBTQ+ organizations in an interview in 2017:
“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.”
He also said he’d stopped giving to groups with anti-LGBTQ+ ties—which, as of January 3, 2019, is patently untrue.
So, what is the answer? Clearly, people are not boycotting Coachella. Should artists refuse to go, or do they use their performance as a platform to make a statement?
Either way, you can’t keep everybody happy.