Anheuser-Busch CEO offers ‘pathetic’ response to bigoted backlash over Dylan Mulvaney’s Bud Light advert

A split imiage of the beer can that Dylan Mulvaney received and her Instagram video.

Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, has issued a lukewarm statement following the anti-trans backlash over the beer company’s partnership with influencer Dylan Mulvaney. 

On Friday (14 April), Whitworth delivered the brand’s first statement in the wake of right-wing bigots threatening to boycott the company because it gave Mulvaney a personalised beer can to celebrate her 356 days of transitioning. 

Whitworth’s words were condemned for “saying nothing” and “meaning nothing”, when this could have been an opportunity for the brand to come out strongly for LGBTQ+ rights and stand with marginalised people just trying to live their lives in the face of hatred and bigotry.

In his statement, Whitworth praises the employment record of Anheuser-Busch, the parent company that makes Budweiser and Bud Light, and says the brand “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people”. 

Nowhere does Whitworth offer support for LGBTQ+ community or specifically address the bigoted backlash to Bud Light’s partnership with social media star and Broadway actor Dylan Mulvaney.

Tears were shed by right-wing snowflakes after Mulvaney, best known for her “days of girlhood” TikTok series, posted an Instagram video on 1 April, where she sips from a can of Bud Light and shows a personalised can with her face on it, provided by the brewery. 

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Dylan Mulvaney attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards in LA in February 2023.
Dyland Mulvaney has been the target of virulent transphobic hatred due to collaborations with brands including Nike and Bud Light. (Getty)

Anti-trans beer drinkers couldn’t handle the collaboration, and filmed themselves pouring Bud Light down the sink, binning cans or – in the case of musician and Donald Trump supporter Kid Rock – shooting an assault weapon at boxes of Bud Light in a bizarre tantrum. 

Social media users have flooded Twitter with transphobic hate and promised to boycott the brand for “going woke” – which, in this case, means giving a trans influencer a free personalised beer can. 

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An Anheuser-Busch employee also confirmed that several of the brewery’s facilities – including one in Los Angeles – have been the targets of bomb threats

In his statement, CEO Brendan Whitworth wrote: “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.

“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,” he continued.

“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.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

Whitworth, who took over the top job at Anheuser-Busch in 2021, also mentioned his military service and intention to “protect” the brand’s history and heritage.

“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.

“I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners. I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors and others.

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“Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.”

Democratic commentator and senior advisor to the DC Institute for Education Kaivan Shroff criticised the statement as “pathetic” and pointed out that the only “division” here is being sown by bigots and those who court them.

Shroff tweeted: “To be clear they sent a trans influencer personalized cans of Bud Light. That’s not ‘dividing’ people. Caving to these hateful bigots is what divides our country. 

“Shame on you, Brendan Whitworth. Epic leadership fail.”

The statement was also slammed on social media by transphobic haters, many of whom expressed their desire for an “apology” for their hurt feelings from the beer brand. 

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