Anheuser-Busch CEO Addresses Backlash Over Bud Light Partnering With Trans Influencer

There's nothing political about liking beer. At least that's what the world's biggest beermaker thought, only to find out that just about anything can be divisive in the country's current political climate. Anheuser-Busch, which produces Budweiser and Bud Light (among many other brands), saw its stock price fall by over $3 billion recently, Newsweek reported, after a proposed boycott to protest the company's endorsement of a transgender social media influencer.

It all began innocuously enough. Dylan Mulvaney, an influencer popular on Instagram and TikTok, is one of many such influencers sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. According to Today, in fact, the company claims it endorses hundreds of people. Nor was Mulvaney's content particularly incendiary. She posted on April 2 about a Bud Light contest contemporaneous with the NCAA college basketball's March Madness tournament, while noting in an attached video clip, per Billboard, that Bud Light was helping to honor her one-year anniversary of reaching "womanhood" with a special can.

Bud Light's post seemed to enrage many conservatives. Some filmed themselves discarding the brand's beer in a variety of ways while musicians Kid Rock and Travis Tritt were among those advocating for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch beer. Other conservatives also joined in condemning Anheuser-Busch, including a former Arizona gubernatorial candidate. So Anheuser-Busch's CEO has been compelled to respond. "We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people," CEO Brendan Whitworth noted recently. "We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer."

Beer isn't meant to divide, per Anheuser-Busch CEO

Beer sponsorship has rarely seemed so controversial in America as it has in the case of Dylan Mulvaney. Perhaps this explains why Anheuser-Busch was disturbed by the blowback. Although some conservatives have crowed about (and exaggerated) the recent multi-billion-dollar drop in Anheuser-Busch's overall stock valuation, Newsweek reported that it was likely a temporary loss and that a sustained boycott was unlikely to harm the brand in the long term. In fact, it might even help in terms of diversifying the brand's consumer base.

More disturbing is the way the Dylan Mulvaney controversy reflects the current attacks taking place against the LGBTQ+ community. According to USA Today, approximately 650 bills have already been introduced across America in 2023 specifically targeting this segment of society. It is noteworthy then that Anheuser-Busch, despite its conciliatory messaging, has thus far refused to distance itself from Mulvaney. Brendan Whitworth, in fact, reiterated the company's commitment to traditional values in his recent statement. "My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work, and respect for one another," he told Today.