Coachella is one of the biggest entertainment festivals since its start in 1999. Many people go to see their favorite celebrity perform or to post photos about it on their social media.
Why has Coachella become so big over the years? Where else can you go to see Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Beyonce and a surprise performance by Justin Bieber? Not many festivals provide their audience with the opportunity to watch so many A-list celebrities perform over the course of two weekends.
With the opportunity to see so many great acts, you have to pay the price. General Admission for one weekend is $429 and VIP passes for one weekend are $999. Many people are willing to pay these steep prices, but not everyone pays the price to go. Many influencers get sponsored to attend the event including James Charles, Nikita Dragun, Bretman Rock, Gabriel Zamora and many others.
What do these people have in common? They are all big influencers within the LGBT community. These people are supposed to be role models to other LGBT people. So, why do they attend an event that is anti-LGBT? Is it because they don’t know what happens behind the scenes or is it due to pure ignorance?
Coachella’s founder, Philip Anschutz, has spent many of his earnings from this festival and other productions to support foundations that are anti-LGBT. One of these organizations is the National Christian Foundation (NCF). This foundation is in the top ten of the largest public charities. Even though it is one of the largest charities, they do not build houses or feed the poor like many other charities. They give their funding to many non-profit organizations that are anti-LGBT, anti-muslim and anti-immigrant.
When news broke about Anschutz supporting these organization, many celebrities refused to perform at Coachella. Though many have refused, they have no problem finding other performers. One headline performer decided to take action. At the end of Ariana Grandes set, a pride flag was shown. Many people took this as her stance against Anschutz’s donations to these hate groups. If you’re willing to go that far to show that you support the LGBT community, why even perform at the festival?
Anschutz has tried damage control by donating over $1 million to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Along with this donation, Anschutz said, “Sexuality is among the most personal of issues, and it has never been my intent to weigh in on people’s private lives. I support the rights of all people and oppose discrimination and intolerance against the LGBTQ community.”
This statement was released on the Anschutz Entertainment Group Twitter page in 2018, “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. 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 that it does not happen again.”
Though Anschutz has apologized and donated money to help LGBT organizations, is he in the clear? Does he really support the LGBT community now? I believe that if someone is willing to support these hate groups until they’re caught, then their apology means nothing. Anschutz knew that he was supporting these foundations and what they stand for.