Controversy continues to swirl around Coachella co-owner Philip Anschutz, who’s drawn ire for his history of contributing to organizations and politicians with agendas that promote LGBTQ discrimination, climate denial, anti-environmentalism, and the weakening of labor unions, all issues that the majority of the liberal acts playing the festival—Beyoncé and The Weeknd, for example—would oppose. Last year, when news first surfaced on his charitable contributions, Anschutz ceased funding of Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and National Christian Foundation—three groups at the center of the criticism. But a new report from Pitchfork reveals that the Anschutz Foundation has continued supporting a good number of organizations with anti-LGBTQ agendas as part of $63.7 million in grants given out in 2016.
The foundation, for example, donated $40,000 to The Navigators, a company that cites being LGBTQ, along with incest and sexual abuse, as a source of “sexual brokenness.” Dare 2 Share Ministries, who received $50,000 from Anschutz, describes homosexuality as a “Satanic perversion,” while the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, the recipients of $25,000 from the foundation, has said that gay marriage” serves as proof that “we’re sick as a country.”
This information comes roughly a month after The Fader released a report regarding Anschutz’s recent donations to anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion politicians and Super PACs.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Anschutz’s lawyer offered the following statement:
One year ago we stated publicly that we unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We stand by those words and reaffirm the commitment we made at that time that The Anschutz Foundation would not knowingly fund any organization that would support anti-LGBTQ initiatives.
Over the past year, the Foundation has stopped funding certain organizations after it was brought to our attention that some of their activities were inconsistent with our values. This is an ongoing process in which we continue to investigate the organizations that we support, as some of these groups may have initiatives that extend beyond the scope of the objectives sought by the Foundation in supporting them. We are proud of the progress we have made in this regard, but there is always room for improvement to ensure the charitable giving of the Foundation does not unintentionally extend to groups that violate principles that are important to us. The Foundation receives requests for donations from thousands of organizations every year and donates to approximately 800 entities annually. If our systems have failed to identify some activities that we do not support, we will stop funding those organizations as we learn more.
On occasion, it has been brought to our attention that certain groups previously supported by the Foundation may have policies or practices relating to the LGBTQ community that could be of concern. In those situations, we carefully assess the concerns to determine if in fact any organization we have supported is taking positions or practicing policies that are intolerant of, or discriminatory toward, the LGBTQ community. If we find problematic activities, we first look to work with those organizations to effectuate positive change if we perceive they are open to hearing and responding to our feedback. Ultimately, if these efforts prove unsatisfactory, we will withdraw further support from those groups.”
Sounds like one of those “we’ll just keep doing it ’til we’re caught” scenarios, eh?