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