Shortly after the reveal of the 2017 Coachella festival lineup, a Teen Vogue article went viral on Twitter discussing how the owner of Coachella, Philip Anschutz, has donated to a number of different anti-LGBT and climate change denying organizations. He is even listed as an "enemy of equality" by an LGBT organization, "Freedom for All Americans."
With an estimated worth of over $10 billion, Anschutz is one of the richest Americans due in part to his entertainment company, AEG, which is the largest owner of sports teams and venues in the world. In addition to Coachella, Anschutz owns the Los Angeles Lakers, the Staples Center, the O2 Arena, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas, to name a few.
As Teen Vogue points out, Philip Anschutz's conservative agenda is not breaking news, but instead talking about something that has been known for quite some time. Politico was likely the first to acknowledge it back in 2009 with an article that also mentions that Anschutz is a recluse who has only given a handful of interviews over the last thirty years.
Coachella has morphed into a weekend daydream for my generation. In addition to seeing many of your favorite artists perform, you get the opportunity to experience other cultures and styles of music through the wide range of musicians and the fans who attend the festival. Coachella has begun to be heavily criticized as of late, even one writer proclaiming that the festival is an "oasis for douchebags and trust fund babies" and "should be avoided at all costs."
While Anschutz may not be using Coachella to promote his conservative agenda, he is using the revenue from the festival to fuel and spread it, just as he is from the revenue from Regal Cinemas, the O2 Arena, the Staples Center, and the LA Lakers. This is the frustrating aspect of it because, regardless of a boycott, Anschutz will not face any real backlash for his support of organizations with anti-LGBT intentions.
But, nevertheless, he deserves criticism and, cosigning a suggestion by former Billboard editor Bill Werde, we must call on our favorite artists to tell them that we do not want them working with a "homophobic climate-change denier." This applies to all artists, not just the ones who are performing this year at Coachella; as Werde notes: "Anschultz also profits from tours of progressives like @PaulMcCartney @aliciakeys & @katyperry" who likely have no idea of his intentions.
We may not be able to change his mind about the LGBT community, but we can ensure that others know that the LGBT community will not stand to support people who do not support us.