Pin It
Via Instagram/@coachella

More like Cancella! Turns out Coachella’s parent company is anti-abortion

Just days after Roe v Wade was overturned, the Anschutz Corporation sent tens of thousands to RAGA, a controversial anti-abortion advocacy group

On June 29, five days after Roe v Wade was officially overturned by the Supreme Court, the parent company of Coachella and several other major festivals (the Anschutz Corporation) donated tens of thousands of dollars to a notorious anti-abortion organisation named the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).

Exposed by Rolling Stone in partnership with the independent newsletter Popular Information, the $75,000 donation was detailed in a filing submitted by RAGA to the IRS in July. According to the political advocacy group, donations go toward its efforts to: “Combat the Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda and stand tall for life.” 

Reportedly, RAGA is currently pushing to install attorneys general (who act as the chief legal advisors to state governments) that will champion anti-abortion laws in states where abortion laws hang in the balance, including Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Ohio. Members also made significant contributions to the case that overruled Roe v Wade, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The Anschutz Corporation’s donation isn’t actually anything new; the corporation, a holding company for entertainment groups that also present Stagecoach and Firefly, has been donating to RAGA since 2014. In the wake of Roe v Wade, however, the sizeable sum of money changing hands is likely to spark more controversy, especially among the Coachella artists and headliners – including Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Phoebe Bridgers, and Megan Thee Stallion – that have been vocal about the state of abortion rights in the US.

The Anschutz Corporation itself has defended its donation, saying that owner Philip Anschutz believes in abortion access. So why would he donate to RAGA, which is openly trying to restrict it? Well, because he doesn’t “review or support each of the positions” of the groups he donates to (maybe he… should?). 

Of course, this explanation should be taken with a pinch of salt – after all, Philip Anschutz has been tied to several extreme right-wing organisations in the past. In 2017, for example, it was claimed that he “actively funds” anti-LGBT groups, as well as climate science denial groups, sparking a campaign for headlining artists to donate to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. A year later, it was also revealed that Anschutz had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican politicians, once again contradicting Coachella’s inclusive messaging.

Frank Ocean is the only headliner that has currently been announced for Coachella 2023. It remains to be seen whether the newly-uncovered donation will have an impact on the artists booked for next year’s festival, with mounting pressure on them to speak out about the Anschutz Corporation’s continued funding of right wing political groups.