In a surprising statement released this afternoon, the owner of the entertainment behemoth AEG came out publicly in support of LGBT rights.
Philip F. Anschutz, the owner of AEG, which stands for Anschutz Entertainment Group, also stated for the first time that he and the foundation his family controls no longer donate to organizations that support anti-LGBT discrimination.
The former publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, which his company Clarity Media sold in 2011 seven years after buying it, Anschutz also owns the company that produces the southern California music festival Coachella as well as the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, which plays at AEG’s StubHub Center in Los Angeles and employs gay soccer star Robbie Rogers.
In the past two days media reports have focused on past giving by Anschutz and his foundation to organizations that espouse anti-LGBT views and oppose abortion, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the National Christian Foundation. The reports also highlighted the oil and gas billionaire’s denial of climate change.
The timing of the media reports, such as in UPROXX and TeenVogue, came after the announcement that Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead are the headliners for Coachella 2017. It led to San Francisco-based magazine 7X7 polling its readers today if they would boycott the music fest.
The reports apparently infuriated Anschutz, according to an AEG source, and prompted the intensely private businessman to issue this statement:
“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.”