AEG chairman and Coachella co-owner Philip Anschutz drummed up quite a bit of controversy when it was revealed that his private family foundation has a long history of donating to organizations and politicians with agendas that promote LGBTQ discrimination, climate denial, anti-environmentalism, and the weakening of labor unions. When confronted with these claims, Anschutz asserts that he “unequivocally support[s] the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.” Now, he’s putting his money where his mouth is, as Variety reports that Anschutz has donated $1 million to the Elton John AIDS Foundation LGBT fund.
Started roughly 25 years ago, John’s foundation aims to provide funding for medical care, programs, and policies in the realm of AIDS prevention. The LGBT Fund is a $10 million public-private partnership with the the U.S. Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative, and works specifically to aid LGBT people in African countries that criminalize same-sex relations with health and HIV services.
In a press statement, John says, “The donation by Phil to EJAF is in keeping with the special connection and consistently supportive, collaborative relationship I have developed with AEG for more than a decade. 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.”
“My gift to the Elton John Foundation is intended to emphasize that we support freedom of all people to live their lives peacefully, without interference from others,” Anschutz added. “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. 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.”
An attorney for Anschutz previously told Pitchfork that he had stopped donating to such organizations after 2015.