The CEO of Anheuser-Busch responded to recent backlash over Bud Light’s partnership with transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a Friday statement.
Tensions boiled over after Bud Light established the partnership and made a specialized can featuring a picture of Mulvaney’s face. Mulvaney posted several videos with Bud Light cans to promote the new brand ambassadorship, which began in early April.
The CEO of Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch responded to the backlash Friday, saying the company does not intend to be part of a divisive discussion.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” CEO Brendan Whitworth wrote.
“We’re honored to be part of the fabric of this country. Anheuser-Busch employs more than 18,000 people and our independent distributors employ an additional 47,000 valued colleagues. We have thousands of partners, millions of fans and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere.”
NEW — Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth Releases a Statement in the Wake of the Dylan Mulvaney Controversy
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.” pic.twitter.com/HbRa9x0pin
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) April 14, 2023
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” the statement continued. “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. As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Social Media Pics From Bud Light Ad Exec Who Slammed ‘Fratty’ Culture Seems Pretty Fratty)
To conclude the statement, Whitworth vowed to continue to “work tirelessly” to provide customers with “great beers.”
Several Anheusner-Busch executives were reportedly not informed about the company’s partnership with Mulvaney beforehand and did not approve it. The company is allegedly set to lose roughly $6 billion due to the brand deal.
The vice president of marketing at Bud Light, Alissa Heinerscheid, posted a video trashing the company’s customer base and calling on executives to be more “inclusive.”
“So I had this super clear mandate,” Heinerscheid said. “Like we need to evolve and elevate this incredibly iconic brand. And what I brought to that was a belief in, ok what does evolve and elevate mean? It means inclusivity, it means shifting the tone. It means having a campaign that’s truly inclusive and feels lighter and brighter and appeals to women and to men. And representation is sort of at the heart of evolution.”