Josie’s Journal: Coachella controversy creates debate

Beyonce performs at Coachella during weekend two on Saturday, April 21, 2018 in Indio, Calif. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Josie Krueger
Entertainment Columnist

California, sunny days and partying are the typical words to describe the famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. However, due to a recent controversy involving the event’s owner, Philip Anschutz, the festival has been described as “anti-LGBTQ” and “pro-gun.”

Coachella is by far the most popular music festival in the United States, this year especially.

With musicians like Beyoncé, SZA, Brockhampton, Kehlani and Kali Uchis performing, celebrating diversity through music is a main theme of the festival. If you watched Beyoncé’s performance, you know.

A shocking juxtaposition to these performers’ celebration of diversity, though, is the news that Anschutz has been donating to Republican politicians/organizations who are Anti-LGBTQ and pro-Gun.
This controversy previously flared up during 2017 Coachella, but it was quickly forgotten after he denied the accusations, claiming they were “fake news” and saying, “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”

However, there are accounts of donations being made to highly biased politicians as late as October 2017.

According to complex.com, “–the biggest donations were made through The Anschutz Corporation, which handed over about $138,000 to the National Republican Senate Committee. The NRSC is an organization chaired by Gardner that aims to increase the Republican senate majority.”

Furthermore, Anschutz supposedly donated over $13,500 to other Republican politicians over the course of 2017.

Freshman Sophie Delay said, “The people who didn’t support [Anschutz] shouldn’t have gone [to Coachella]. People aren’t really bringing it up. You… have to make a big deal out of it for it to be recognized.”

Model and actress Cara Delevingne said in April 2018 on her official instagram page, “I still refuse to go to a festival [Coachella] that is owned by someone who is anti-LGBT and pro-gun.”

Junior Olivia Bickford said, “It’s really shocking because all of these celebrities who are

activists for [equal] human rights are playing at this festival… it’s going against their morals.”

On the opposite side, a snopes.com article said, “An attorney at Hogan Lovells, a law firm that represents Anschutz Entertainment Group, confirmed to Pitchfork that the Anschutz Foundation stopped contributing to these groups after 2015.”

Anschutz wrote to Rolling Stone in January 2017, “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.”


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