Coachella owner who ‘funded anti-sodomy groups’ donates $1 million to Sir Elton John’s charity

Josh Jackman March 24, 2018
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The billionaire owner of the Coachella festival, who has been accused of donating to multiple anti-LGBT hate groups, has given $1 million to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

A report by Freedom for All Americans alleged that Philip Anschutz had poured vast amounts of funding into the organisations – including a fringe group that battles to keep sodomy laws around the world on the books.

According to the investigation, which was published in the Washington Post, the head of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) allegedly used his nonprofit foundation to donate to the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom.

Anschutz and David Beckham (Getty)

He also indirectly provided funding for a number of minor anti-LGBT groups, the report alleged.

Anschutz furiously denied the claims, calling them “fake news” and adding: “I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”

And in a new statement, Anschutz said he wanted the donation to Sir Elton’s charity to show how much he valued everyone.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11:  Owner of the Los Angeles Kings, Philip F. Anschutz poses with the team and the Stanley Cup after defeating the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Devils 6-1 to win the series 4 games to 2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“My gift to the Elton John Foundation is intended to emphasise that we support freedom of all people to live their lives peacefully, without interference from others,” he 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.

“I see this as a matter of basic human rights.”

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy (R) receives the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy from Philip F. Anschutz on the podium after the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo in the 2011 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on November 20, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy defeated the Dynamo 1-0 to win the 2011 MLS Cup.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

The 78-tear-old businessman, who also owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner and Regal Cinemas, then addressed his alleged past donations to hate groups.

He said: “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 our internal processes are strengthened so that it does not happen again.”

Sir Elton responded by welcoming the injection of funding.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Sir Elton John attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

“The donation by Phil to (the foundation) is in keeping with the special connection and consistently supportive, collaborative relationship I have developed with AEG for more than a decade,” he said in a statement, according to Billboard.

“We will put his donation to work to ensure that vulnerable groups are not left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“This funding will help our programs provide life-saving work for LGBT communities around the world, starting with the LGBT Fund in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

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

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

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Philip Anschutz, head of The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), and owner Los Angeles Galaxy stands on the field after the Galaxy defeats the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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.

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.

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Philip Anschutz, head of The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), and owner Los Angeles Galaxy stands on the field after the Galaxy defeats the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Researcil Council (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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 Centre.

By donating to the ADF, the report alleged that Anschutz was also indirectly funding the anti-LGBT hate group Pray in Jesus Name, founded by disgraced Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt.

More: AEG, Anti-gay, business, Coachella, Elton John Aids Foundation, Sir Elton John, US, US

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