Throw on your culturally appropriated Native American headdress, unicorn outfit, sandals, and gold foil temporary tattoos, kids. We’re going to Coachella!
A few days ago, the lineup for this year’s Coachella was revealed and admittedly, I lost my shit over seeing the headliners for Friday and Saturday: Radiohead and Beyoncé. (fun fact: completely sold out at $399/ticket within 3 hours)
Then I started to go through who else is playing and realized I only recognized about 10 other musical guests. From that, I spiraled into a rabbit hole of depression and coming to terms with my own mortality upon the realization that I am getting old.
But you know what else is getting really fucking old? Funding of anti-LGBTQA+ groups and denying climate change. Case in point: Philip Anschutz is the billionaire owner of AEG, an entertainment and sports company (second to Live Nation in its reach) with investments in the LA Lakers, LA Kings and the Staples Center. He also owns GoldenVoice, the company that puts on Coachella. However, his money seems to be most damaging is in his support of socially conservative causes. According to the Washington Post,
here’s a quick glimpse as to what Anschultz has contributed to:
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
Also, since 2008, the Anschutz Foundation has donated $175,000 to the Mission America Foundation, a far-right organization whose president considers homosexuality to be a “deviance.” Furthermore, he’s supported the cause of climate change denial through the same foundation. According to Greenpeace, he meets biannually with the Koch brothers (massive funders of climate change denial) at their “strategy meetings.” The results of these meetings aren’t entirely clear, but it is obvious that Anschutz uses his media properties like the Washington Examiner to push far-right talking points like climate change denial, an action that certainly won’t have any effect on a festival held in California. I really need a sarcasm font.
If the price tag of going to Coachella doesn’t give you great pause, I think it’s coming to a point where we really need to start examining where our money is going. Always follow the money. You can support local music or your favorite artists as much as you want, but think about whose pockets you’re really lining. Start doing a little digging to see if your interests align with theirs. Because fine, Anschutz can deny that climate change isn’t real all he wants. But try explaining to this guy that unicorns aren’t real, either.