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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | LGBTI / Queer
San Francisco Examiner Now Owned Anti-Gay Activist Philip Anschutz!!
The new billionaire owner of the storied San Francisco Examiner is a conservative Christian from Denver who would not support same-sex marriage, if his past actions are any barometer, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Denver businessman Philip Anschutz bought the newspaper--once the cornerstone of William Randolph Hearst's publishing empire--on Thursday for a estimated $20 million. It has yet to be seen if or how his beliefs will affect the newspaper's coverage of gays and lesbians. The reclusive Anschutz has not given a substantial interview since 1974 and didn't comment for the story.
The Chronicle reported that in the 1990s, Anschutz backed Colorado's Amendment 2, which tried to restrict that state's cities from adopting civil rights protections specifically for gays and lesbians. Anschutz, who is worth an estimated $4.6 billion, donated $10,000 to the campaign supporting the amendment. The amendment was approved by Colorado voters in 1992 but was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Anschutz has also given generously to Morality in Media, which crusades against pornography and obscenity in magazines, movies, television, and other outlets.
Anschutz is chairman and owner of a company bearing his name that owns or has investments in about 100 companies in energy, pipelines, railroads, agriculture, real estate, film production, movie theaters, telecommunications, sports, media, and entertainment. He is the founder and largest shareholder in Qwest Communications International, a telecom concern, and vice chairman of Union Pacific, the nation's largest railroad.
Aide Jim Monaghan told the Chronicle that Anschutz is "a strong Christian, a strong believer in religion" but said, "It is more personal than it is promotional, in the sense that he is not seen [promoting his religious opinions] in the paper or as a religious leader."
DENVER BILLIONAIRE PHILIP Anschutz may be the richest man in America you've never heard of, and he plans to keep it that way. Unlike modern-day moguls Marvin Davis and Rupert Murdoch, Anschutz is virtually unknown to the public. While that may be good strategy for someone in oil, railroads and cyber optics--businesses in which he has amassed a fortune estimated at $8.8 billion--last May Anschutz took a bold step into the civic life of Los Angeles with a $500 million proposal to rebuild the Coliseum and bring a National Football League team back to the city. Owning the local football team usually carries with it a level of community responsibility and responsiveness. But as Mayor Riordan and city councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas cheered, Anschutz remained invisible, a secretive and enigmatic figure in the city where he had come to do business.
Anschutz, chairman of Qwest Communications International (nyse: Q) and multibillionaire, is rapidly becoming a movie theater mogul. But the title "movie theater mogul" has about as much prestige as "king of an anthill."
After acquiring United Artists Theaters in September 2000 and Tennessee theater chain, Regal Cinemas, Anschutz has most recently set his sights on California theater chain Edwards Cinemas. Edwards Cinemas couldn't confirm Anschutz' interest, but spokeswoman Anita-Marie Hill says the company has narrowed its search for investors down to a single investor, and any definitive announcement will come out of the bankruptcy court.
The Hollywood press corps believes it has figured out Anschutz' motives. Several writers have opined that because Anschutz contributed money to an anti-gay ballot issue in Colorado nine years ago, he's buying up movie theaters to control the content of Hollywood films. Anschutz wants to prevent sex, violence and alternative lifestyles from further polluting America's minds.
He is a reclusive American billionaire reputed to have a gift for saving lost causes. When 62-year-old Philip Anschutz signalled he was interested in turning the apparently cursed Millennium Dome into a glittering pop and sports venue, it seemed the perfect solution to an embarrassing government problem.
Last month Ministers thought they had washed their hands of New Labour's great white elephant when the Government gave a consortium led by the US tycoon the Dome and 190 acres of surrounding land for nothing.
But an investigation into Anschutz's financial and right-wing political activities, which include bankrolling an extreme US anti-gay group, suggest any ministerial hope that the damaging saga of the Dome has ended is likely to prove premature.
The Observer can reveal that the US financial authorities have launched a major investigation into Anschutz's main American business, Qwest Communications.