- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2019

Paul Tollett, co-founder of the annual Coachella music festival in Southern California, gave a rare interview Friday to address the controversy surrounding the festival’s Christian conservative owner, Philip Anschutz.

Coachella, now in its 20th year, is organized by Mr. Tollett’s Goldenvoice Productions, a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz. The personal politics of Mr. Anschutz, who reportedly gave nearly $200,000 to Republican politicians and super PACs in 2017, have been a point of controversy for the festival and new calls for a boycott arose Tuesday after the festival’s 2019 lineup was announced.

Mr. Tollett, who retains half ownership of Coachella, told The Los Angeles Times that critics would be hard-pressed to find a billionaire who doesn’t support conservative policies.

“Most billionaires are Republicans,” he said. “The billionaire attached to Live Nation is a Republican Trump supporter. Ticketmaster, same thing. Madison Square Garden? Billionaire Trump supporter. I know Mr. Anschutz isn’t a Trump supporter. None of it matters to me. I run a show 365 days a year, making all the decisions.”

Mr. Tollett said Mr. Anschutz owns “thousands of companies” and has nothing to do with the organizing for Coachella. Still, Mr. Anschutz has shown “no discrimination” and is “good to all of us,” Mr. Tollett said.

“He’s given hundreds of millions to charity and made some mistakes, and he’s addressed it. He made a very strong statement about his beliefs and people’s rights to their sexuality,” Mr. Tollett said. “He made a million-dollar donation to an AIDS charity that specializes in LGBTQ discrimination in Africa. I’ve seen it here at AEG: He’s good to all of us. There’s no discrimination.”

“Anyone who knows me and the Goldenvoice staff, they know we have a very colorful public history,” he said. “They see our 1,400 shows a year. They know our well-balanced staff, diverse from the beginning. Currently more women than men, all races, all sexual orientations. We never had a plan to do it that way; it’s just what all of us are. We book our shows that way too.”

Coachella, which takes place over two weekends in Indio, will include headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande starting this April.

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