Phillip Anschutz is dismissing recent reports that has supported homophobic political groups as "fake news."
"It is all garbage," the owner of entertainment conglomerate AEG said in a statement released Thursday (Jan. 5). In his defense, Anschutz pointed the diversity of his employees throughout his family of companies, which includes Coachella founding company Goldenvoice, among others.
As well, he said that neither he nor The Anschutz Foundation have supported organizations with the purpose of financing ani-LGBTQ initiatives and that they have stopped contributions to any groups that have done so.
Read his statement in full here:
"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."
This week, following Goldenvoice's announcement of the Coachella lineup, Anschutz's political contributions to far-right groups known for promoting anti-LGBTQ and climate denial groups have been scrutinized in the press and on social media, with some calling for a boycott of Coachella, as outlined last summer by Freedom for All Americans.
Anschutz has not commented on his support of climate denial groups.
Though Anschutz's statement claims he has not intentionally supported any anti-LGBTQ initiatives, the Anschutz Foundation's 2013 IRS 990 filing suggests otherwise. That filing, which is the most recent available publicly, shows funding of $10,000 to the Family Research Council, which recently published this report arguing for a legal precedent that defines marriage as one man and one woman. It also shows $150,000 towards the Center of American Values, whose mission is to "explore how doing the right thing for family, community and country will keep America great." Still, the statement may be true since he claims to have rescinded funding to any anti-LGBTQ groups.
Among these contributions, the filing lists many others to organizations without any political leanings, such as the Oklahoma Caring Foundation and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Foundation.
Billboard reached out to Anschutz's rep for comment on whether the foundation has donated to the Family Research Council since 2013, but did not receive an immediate response.
After Anschutz worked previously in oil and land investment, in 1994 he founded AEG. Since, he has grown the business to own the Coachella Music Festival, L.A. Kings, L.A. Galaxy, Staples Center and L.A. Live, as well as many more sports teams, venues and entertainment entities around the world.
Additional reporting by Andrew Flanagan