Bud Light maker loses perfect LGBTQ+ rating over response to Dylan Mulvaney row

TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney wears a colourful dress with her hair in braids

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) could dock Anheuser-Busch’s 100 per cent rating, awarded for the support it offers LGBTQ+ employees, because of the company’s response to the backlash to TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney’s Bud Light advert.

The beer brand sparked an intense backlash last month after sending trans TikToker Mulvaney a single can of Bud Light to celebrate her 365 days of public transition.

The following weeks saw people smashing bottles of Bud Light in stores, musician Kid Rock shooting cans with an assault weapon, bars refusing to sell the beer, and even Texas Republican Ted Cruz threatening to open an investigation into the brand.

After responding to the controversy with a lukewarm statement, where Anheuser-Busch chief executive, Brendan Whitworth, said: “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people, LGBTQ+ bars began their own boycott of the brew.

Now, HRC, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, has warned that the brewer may face losing its perfect Corporate Equality Index score, a tool that measures companies’ policies for queer employees.

The HRC reportedly wrote to Anheuser-Busch, suspending its equality score and warning that it has 90 days to respond, according to USA Today.

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Eric Bloem, HRC’s senior director of programmes and corporate advocacy, said: “Anheuser-Busch had a key moment to stand up and demonstrate the importance of their values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and their response really fell short.”

The beer brand is yet to respond to the letter, he added.

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HRC suspended Netflix’s Corporate Equality Index score after its handling of comedian Dave Chappelle’s transphobic comments in 2021. 

Mulvaney broke her silence over the intense transphobic backlash to the advert after several weeks, saying that she is OK, but doesn’t “pressure” herself to share as much any more.

“I’ve been offline for a few weeks and a lot has been said about me, some of which is so far from my truth. I was hearing my name and didn’t even know who they were talking about sometimes,” she began.

Explaining why she chose to return to social media, Mulvaney added: “I remembered nearly 13 million people enjoyed me enough [enough] at some point to hit the follow button on these apps.

“I’m doing OK. I’m trying this new thing where I don’t pressure myself to share anything before I’m ready. I’m sitting with my emotions, not reacting… shockingly, I can’t recommend it more.”

Despite the backlash, a poll has found that a majority of American beer drinkers (53 per cent) would feel “favourably” towards a brand that works with a trans spokesperson.

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