Coachella owner personally donated hundreds of thousands to Republicans

According to a new report by The FADER, festival owner Philip Anschutz gave $187,300 to Republican politicians and Super PACS in 2017

Yesterday (January 3) saw the announcement of the Coachella’s 2018 lineup. This years line-up is the first time in Coachella’s 19-year history that no rock act will headline the festival, instead seeing Eminem, The Weeknd, and Beyoncé (the first black woman to headline the festival, the first woman to do so in ten years, and the second woman to ever do so) taking top billing. They’re joined by the likes of SZA, St. Vincent, Perfume Genius, and Cardi B, reflecting a lineup that’s diverse in terms of race, gender, and sexuality. 

Yet following the announcement, a new report has revealed that Phillip Anschutz, the owner of the festival, has personally been providing monetary donations to Republican candidates and Super PACS that seem opposed to the festival’s inclusive ethos. According to The FADER, Anschutz funded just over $1,000,000 (£737,974) to conservatives during the 2016 election cycle, with $187,300 138321 going to Republican candidates and organisations in 2017 alone.

Notably, March 2017 saw Anschutz give $5,400 (£3,985) to Senator Cory Gardner, who spoke out against gun control following the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year which saw more than 50 people killed. August 2017 saw him give the US representative Scott Tipton $2,700 (£1,992), who has been against same sex marriage and abortion. Mike Coffman, who who received $5,400 (£3,985) from Anschutz, previously described former president Barack Obama by saying, “in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” His biggest donation, of $138,000 (£101,840), was to the National Republican Senate Committee.

Last year a similar story reported that profits from AEG, Coachella’s parent company, were being donated to groups who are anti-LGBTQ. Here, however, it seems that Anschutz is giving to these groups personally.

Philip Anschutz responded to the new report with a statement to The FADER, saying, “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... 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.”

With many of the artists playing at this year’s festival airing an anti-Republican stance, it’s interesting to see how or if they’ll respond. Eminem, who is headlining the festival, has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, releasing a four-minute freestyle attacking the president prior to his latest album.

Coachella 2018 is set to take place from Friday April 13 to Sunday April 22.