Anheuser-Busch CEO Walks Back Defense Of Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney Partnership

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD

James Lynch Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Michel Doukeris, CEO of Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, walked back the company’s defense of Bud Light’s controversial advertising campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Doukeris told investors on a Thursday earnings call about the “misinformation” spreading on social media about Mulvaney’s advertisements on behalf of Bud Light, Fox Business reported. “We need to clarify the facts that this was one camp, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said. (RELATED: REPORT: Bud Light Gives Distributors Free Beer To Apologize For Dylan Mulvaney Fiasco)

Anheuser-Busch is “providing direct financial support” to frontline workers affected by the ongoing boycott of Bud Light because of the partnership with Mulvaney, Doukeris said, according to Fox Business. He confirmed reports about Anheuser-Busch’s marketing push to restore Bud Light’s image and regain lost sales. Doukeris said the lost sales represent 1% of total global volume but it’s still too early to assess the impact, Bloomberg reported.

“We believe we have the experience, the resources and the partners to manage this. And our four-year growth outlook is unchanged,” Doukeris said, per Fox Business. “We want to reiterate our support for our wholesaler partners and everyone who brings our great beers to the market. I can tell you that we have the agility, resources and people to support the U.S. team and move forward.”

“We will continue to learn, meet the moment in time, all be stronger and we work tirelessly to do what we do best: Bring people together over a beer and creating a future of more cheers,” he added.

Bud Light’s U.S. sales have dropped significantly in the weeks following Mulvaney’s advertisements and the company’s market value fell by $6 billion at the start of the boycott. Mulvaney, a biological male who identifies as a transgender female, posted videos promoting Bud Light in early April and touted a customized beer can sent by the company to promote “365 days of girlhood.” Mulvaney posted the advertisements with the hashtag budlightpartner and called the partnership “my most prized possession.”

The videos sparked backlash from conservatives on social media who criticized Bud Light for disrespecting its customer base by promoting transgender ideology. The backlash intensified when an unearthed video showed Bud Light marketing executive Alissa Heinerscheid slamming the brand’s “fratty” image in a March podcast appearance. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Social Media Pics From Bud Light Ad Exec Who Slammed ‘Fratty’ Culture Seem Pretty Fratty)

Heinerscheid and another marketing executive were placed on leave in late April because of the Mulvaney partnership. Bud Light initially defended the partnership with Mulvaney as a way to “authentically connect with audiences” and called the customized cans “a gift to celebrate a personal milestone” in a statement to Fox News.

Anheuser-Busch U.S. CEO Brendan Whitworth released a statement April 14 saying the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”