Wikiuser Alan Paone
What runs rampant with poorly concealed sexual harassment and homophobia? The unfortunate reality is that this question has many answers – but one in particular may be a jarring wake-up call to many: Coachella. Though the story of excited clients ignoring signs of bigotry and exploitation is one as old as time, it is our responsibility to raise awareness on the thinly veiled truth behind the annual music festival.
Despite the presence of performers of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, Philip Anschutz, founder of the Anschutz Entertainment Group which partially funds Coachella, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ+ groups and other questionable associations. In addition, the IRS found that he and his company were liable for 94 million dollars after avoiding paying taxes for years. And, as if this monetary trail isn’t enough to deter any young festival-goer from going, even Mtsuki, a musician who performed there, didn’t encourage her fanbase to attend. Upon discovering the festival’s problematic background, she tweeted, “well I agreed to do this+ [myself] not going would only hurt me not the fest, but u can still not go.” Last month, Teen Vogue found that 54 of 54 women who were randomly selected to be interviewed at the festival were sexually harassed there, with the reporter herself being “groped 22 times.” This kind of inappropriate behavior is unacceptable, and the fact that the festival is funded by distasteful sources doesn’t help.
But there is hope for the future. Thanks to modern feminism and other progressive viewpoints, Americans have been able to take unfit people and ideas down from their pedestals to create a more inclusive environment. In a powerful reminder of the impact of a strong, unified voice, film director Harvey Weinstein’s career has collapsed after brave harassment survivors reported him to authorities. Whether it means boycotting Coachella or raising awareness on the festival’s questionable connections through social media, we must once again band together to take Coachella off its pedestal.
This isn’t to say that Coachella is the only institution that is funded by intolerant associations. Companies like H&M and Chick-Fil-A are led by reportedly racist and homophobic people, yet still continue to maintain their popularity. It is time to put our support into non-problematic establishments and encourage inclusivity in our communities. Too many companies function without repercussions to their bigotry, and Coachella is just one of them. So the next time you daydream about flower crowns at Coachella or even eating at Chick-Fil-A, remember what they stand for.