Is Coachella anti-LGBTQ+?
Just like that, another Coachella season has come and passed.
Millennials all over are still riding that Coachella, drug-induced high as they reminisce about the return of Destiny’s Child and a prego Cardi B twerking, all the while trying to decide on an Instagram filter for their super trendy Ferris wheel picture.
Although Coachella sells out every single year in a matter of seconds after tickets go on sale, not many people know how controversial Coachella actually is.
According to the Pitchfork article published at the beginning of the year, Coachella’s owner, Philip Anschutz, has donated a sizeable sum to conservative groups, including anti-LGBTQ+ groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, National Christian Foundations, and the Family Research Council.
“Freedom for All Americans reported that the charitable organization founded by Philip Anschutz, who owns Coachella organizer Goldenvoice and half of the festival itself through his entertainment company AEG, gave $190,000 to anti-gay groups between 2010 and 2013. The Anschutz Foundation’s tax filings later confirmed those claims”
Which had me thinking… Why are both the performers and attendees continuing to support a music festival that is financially supporting groups that are trying to deny the LGBTQ+ community of their humanity and rights?
Thousands of people attend Coachella each year, and a large number of those people are either supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, or they identify as something that falls into that group. Do these people not care that their money is going towards someone that will then use it to support an organization that does not support them?
What about the performers? How can huge LGBTQ+ supporters like Beyoncé and Tyler, the Creator perform at a music festival that makes millions off of their presence only to use that same money to support groups that have entirely different values than them?
It seems a little backward to have artists who have millions of fans that are either supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, or a part of it perform at a festival that supports groups that hate their fan base. Highsnobiety ran a piece along the same vain, pointing out the hypocrisy of artists like Lady Gaga:
“One would think that Gaga — the pop star who has single-handedly done the most on or off stage for radical change in LGBT acceptance this decade — surely felt some form of guilt or hesitation at supporting the festival after such accusations, but she appeared nonetheless. In fact, a bizarre twist of fate happened to place her on a panel discussion with the Dalai Lama and one Philip Anschutz a mere two weeks before The Washington Postpublished its initial, incisive report.”
It’s important to note that Highsnobiety prefaces the piece, written by their music editor, Jake Boyer, with the placeholder: “The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.” A preface that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the site, as if they’re worried that the folks at Goldenvoice might pull their press passes.
Even supermodel Cara Delevingne stated that although Beyonce’s performance left her speechless, she still would never personally attend Coachella due to the owners anti-LGBTQ+ and pro-gun stance.
If someone like Cara, who has always strongly supported equality for all, won’t attend Coachella because she knows that her money will be used towards something she does not support or believe in— why are thousands of people still purchasing tickets for a festival that believes their lifestyle is wrong?
Coachella’s owner, Anschutz, has denied that he is anti-LGBTQ+, and stated that all reports about it are “fake news.” He also stated, “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”
Following all the backlash, he then ceased all contributions from a portion of the previously named groups, but Pitchfork.com was able to confirm a hand full of ultraconservative groups who are still receiving money from Mr. Anschultz. In March of this year, he also donated $1 million to the Elton John AIDS LGBT Fund. This donation contradicts his past contributions through his foundation to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.
It seems as though Anschutz is playing damage control.
So, before you fork up half a grand to attend Coachella 2019, take a minute to think about what you’re really supporting…