Culture

Controversial Coachella Owner Donates $1 Million to Elton John AIDS Foundation

Source: In The Know YouTube screenshot

Looks like Coachella’s owner has changed his tune.

Philip Anschutz has donated $1 million donation to the Elton John AIDS Foundation which advocates for LGBTQ people around the world. The donation follows criticism of his past contributions to multiple groups accused of being anti-LGBT.

“My gift to the Elton John Foundation is intended to emphasize that we support freedom of all people to live their lives peacefully, without interference from others,” Anschutz told Billboard. “I support the rights of all people and oppose discrimination and intolerance against the LGBTQ community. I see this as a matter of basic human rights.” He added, “Our Foundation supports a broad range of philanthropic causes. I regret if any money given to a charity for other purposes may have indirectly worked against these values. That was not my intention, it does not reflect my beliefs, and I am committed to making sure our internal processes are strengthened so that it does not happen again.”

The billionaire businessman has been known to actively fund climate change denial strategy and alleged anti-LGBTQ groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council. At the start of 2018, reports surfaced of $770,000 in donations from Anschutz’s foundation being made to at least seven groups that have been accused by gay rights organizations of being anti-LGBTQ. Among those groups are Focus on the Family, which is opposed to protections against discrimination, and Dare to Share, a ministry run by anti-gay pastor Greg Stier.

He also reportedly donated over $1,000,000 to Republican candidates during the 2016 election cycle.

READCoachella Owner Donates To LGBTQ Hate Groups, Denies Climate Change

Anschutz owns Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which is a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the second-largest event promoter in the U.S.

Last year, Billboard reported the AEG head released a statement calling the reports “nothing more than fake news” and saying, “it is all garbage.” He added, “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.”

“The donation by Phil to (the foundation) is in keeping with the special connection and consistently supportive, collaborative relationship I have developed with AEG for more than a decade. We will put his donation to work to ensure that vulnerable groups are not left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” musician Elton John said in a statement to Billboard. “This funding will help our programs provide life-saving work for LGBT communities around the world, starting with the LGBT Fund in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

READBeyoncé, Eminem, & The Weeknd Will Headline Coachella 2018

 

Source: Billboard

Ivie Ani

Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani

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