Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, responded Thursday after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney criticized the brand for how it handled conservative backlash.
Mulvaney spoke out Thursday on Instagram about the Bud Light boycott that began in early April when But Light sent the influencer a customized beer can to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Mulvaney’s gender transition.
— James Lynch (@jameslynch32) June 13, 2023
“For months now, I’ve been scared to leave my house. I’ve been ridiculed in public. I’ve been followed,” said Mulvaney, a biological male who identifies as female. “I have felt loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
“I was waiting for the brand to reach out to me, but they never did,” the influencer said. (RELATED: Anheuser-Busch Accepts Creative Marketing Award Announced Shortly Before Bud Light Boycott Began)
Anheuser-Busch responded to Mulvaney’s claims in a statement to the Daily Beast on Thursday evening. A company spokesperson said Anheuser-Busch is “committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community,” but did not mention Mulvaney by name.
“As we move forward, we will focus on what we do best – brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter to our consumers,” the spokesperson added.
Anheuser-Busch U.S. CEO Brendan Whitworth made similar comments in a Wednesday interview with CBS News, during which he did not directly answer a question about whether he regretted the Mulvaney partnership.
“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now, and big brands are right in the middle of it and it’s not just our industry or Bud Light. It’s happening in retail, happening in fast food. And so for us what we need to understand is — deeply understand and appreciate — is the consumer and what they want, what they care about and what they expect from big brands,” Whitworth said.
He also told CBS that Bud Light will continue to support LGBT activists despite the boycott against Bud Light. Conservatives accused Bud Light in April of supporting transgender ideology by partnering with Mulvaney, who has advocated for transgender procedures for minors.
The boycott intensified after an interview resurfaced in which Bud Light marketing executive Alissa Heinerscheid she trashed the brand’s “fratty” image. Heinerscheid and another marketing executive were fired due to the Mulvaney backlash, the Daily Caller exclusively reported. (RELATED: Bud Light’s Parent Company Owns A Bunch Of Your Favorite Beers)
Bud Light sales continue to lag behind last year’s totals because of the boycott, according to sales data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ. Anheuser-Busch’s other marquee brands have also suffered because of the Bud Light boycott and some beer distributors believe the downturn could be permanent.
Anheuser-Busch is launching a summer marketing campaign in an attempt to win back consumers alienated by Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney. The campaign will feature advertisements with NFL stars, a music tour, giveaways for customers and a revival of the “Bud Knight” mascot.