Thousands sign petition for Coachella acts to donate fee to LGBT groups

Thousands have signed a petition calling for Coachella headliners to donate their fees.

News broke last week that that the billionaire businessman who owns Coachella festival and the O2 Arena had allegedly funded anti-LGBT groups.

Philip Anschutz, chief of AEG, that runs Coachella and London’s o2 arena, was listed as a donor to a number of anti-LGBT hate groups – including a fringe group that battles to keep sodomy laws around the world on the books.

Anschutz strongly denied knowingly funding homophobic campaigns.

Now music lovers are calling on Coachella festival’s headliners to donate their fees to LGBT groups to redress the balance.

The Care2 petition has asked the festival headliners to donate their profits to groups like The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline and the Human Rights Campaign.

Care2 LGBT campaigner Sarah Rose said: “As a transgender woman and advocate for the LGBTQ community, my genuine hope is that these artists can turn a bad situation into a positive one.

“I’m a diehard music fan and a musician myself, and I strongly believe that music shouldn’t be used as a means to discriminate.”

More than 5,000 people have already put their name to the petition.

The revelations about Anschutz come from a report by Freedom for All Americans, a political action group that had looked at funding for a number of the most influential and powerful anti-LGBT groups in the US.

Anschutz says he supports all employees regardless of their sexuality and called the revelations “fake news”.

“I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.

“We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us – the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.”

He added: “When it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organisations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”

According to the investigation, reported in the Washington Post, Phil Anschutz – owner of the Coachella festival and the Anschutz Entertainment Group – has poured vast amounts of funding into a number of extreme anti-LGBT groups.

Operating under the brand AEG Live, his events group owns a string of entertainment ventures including Coachella the LA Galaxy football team, LA’s Staples Center, and the Manchester Arena. AEG Live also operates London’s O2 Arena.

The newspaper reports that Anschutz’ nonprofit foundation has funded the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom, also indirectly providing funding for a number of minor anti-LGBT groups.

The ADF – which Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to – is a notorious Christian group has opposed same-sex weddings, gay adoptions, civil unions, and even the repeal of Sodomy laws, strongly opposing the 2003 Supreme Court decision to strike down state laws banning gay sex.

Though other US-based groups have moved away from the overt ‘anti-Sodomy’ agenda, the ADF continues to fight for laws criminalising gay sex overseas, and was caught waging a campaign to keep gay sex illegal in Belize.

Meanwhile in the US the group has filed a string of spurious lawsuits aimed at dismantling anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

The Family Research Council recently called for the State Department to be “purged” of pro-LGBT staff hired by the Obama administration.

The group’s head Tony Perkins has made a number of extremely disturbing claims about LGBT people in the past, insisting that gays will attempt a ‘Christian Holocaust’.

Perkins also compares gays to paedophiles, insisting: “While activists like to claim that paedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. It is a homosexual problem.”

Both the FRC and ADF are listed as anti-LGBT hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

By funding the ADF, the report reveals that Anschutz is indirectly funding the anti-LGBT hate group Pray in Jesus Name, founded by disgraced Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt,

The report states: “Phil Anschutz is one of the richest people in America, with an estimated fortune of over $10 billion, and is listed at #42 on Forbes’ U.S. Billionaires list as of May 17, 2016.

“His entertainment company, AEG, is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena.

“In addition, Anschutz owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas. He’s also one of the largest landowners in the country.

“Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013.

“Anschutz Foundation gave $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013.

“Anschutz Foundation gave $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013.”