AEG owner Phil Anschutz has come out on the defensive, denying that he is anti-LGBTQ or that he knowingly supports groups that seek to deny LGBTQ individuals their civil rights. Anschutz took the rare step to speak publicly on his past donations to right-wing groups following a surge in new stories connecting the billionaire owner of Coachella and the LA Kings with groups like the Family Research Council that have a history of backing anti-LGBTQ causes.
“Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage. 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.
Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.”
Anschutz’s support of far-right causes has been long known (and quietly discussed) in the music community. The 77-year-old entrepreneur was recently identified by LGBTQ-advocacy group Freedom for All Americans as an “Enemy of Equality” for making contributions to groups like Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013, which pushed out pre-worded bills against LGBTQ citizens to state legislatures. In July, One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families accused Anschutz of “support for pro-discrimination groups” that put Anschutz “on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.”
Anschutz founded AEG in 1994 and has grown the company into an entertainment giant and owner of the LA Kings, LA Galaxy, Coachella Music Festival, Staples Center and L.A. Live and dozens of arenas, entertainment venues and facilities around the world.