In a move which apparently pleased nobody across the political spectrum, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth caved to pressure surrounding the Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light sponsorship controversy by making a vague statement.
His post on social media expressed a nebulous intent to avoid “being part of a discussion that divides people” but stopped short of either apologizing, doubling down or attempting to stake out a compromise position.
Whitworth’s statement also invoked his service in the military to emphasize his commitment to “freedom, hard work and respect for one another.”
— Anheuser-Busch (@AnheuserBusch) April 14, 2023
He served as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps for 3 years from 1998-2001, during which he earned the Navy Achievement Medal for meritorious non-combat service. After his relatively brief stint in the Corps, he worked as a CIA agent for five years before getting his MBA from Harvard and going directly from there into corporate management for Frito-Lay, then Anheuser-Busch.
Reactions to the statement from both sides of the aisle were harsh, with most citing how little the 196-word statement actually said. Leftists broadly decried the statement as unnecessary and conservatives dismissed it as insufficient, with many vowing to continue boycotting.
The statement was posted as an image to Twitter at 3:32 p.m. ET and, within half an hour, it had already been ratioed by meme responses mocking the company.
We did it! pic.twitter.com/qyO5KUl2Wj
— Enguerrand VII de Coucy (@ingelramdecoucy) April 14, 2023
I’m looking for the line that says “we are sorry for making a mockery of women,” but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
— Kristen (@Kriscilicious) April 14, 2023
You slapped real women in the face by hiring a dude in womanface. It’s a NO from me. Enjoy bleeding billions more. pic.twitter.com/SxoX5GqIcp
— Kat Kanada (@KatrinaPanova) April 14, 2023
Bud Light caves to a mob that was shooting at and running over its product for giving a one-minute sponsored Instagram post to a trans person. pic.twitter.com/ZqWDGPM36z
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) April 14, 2023
Classic response from a gullible old CEO type. "I'm a veteran and patriotic. So don't hold me responsible for ceding the company I'm nominally in charge of to a de facto deep state of far-left activists." https://t.co/1sSwFt9Qpg
— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) April 14, 2023
You actually paid a PR firm to write this? Horrible.
You could have at least announced the formation of a Standards & Practices function to oversee marketing initiatives. Ask your GC what that is.
What an embarrassment on top of an embarrassment.
— 🇺🇸 (@TheBourbonette) April 14, 2023
Hey ChatGPT, please generate an apology statement that doesn't actually apologize or take a stance on anything…
— Dan Kane 🌵 (@thedankaneshow) April 14, 2023
AB InBev – the parent company of Anheuser-Busch, which produces Bud Light – has seen billions of dollars in market capitalization losses since the controversy began. The losses from March 31st to April 13th stand at $4.75 billion, a 3.95% drop in the company’s total value.
Even worse, the Daily Mail reported that Bud Light sales are down an astonishing 70%. According to a story on Patch.com, several Anheuser facilities across the country have been targeted with bomb threats.
Conservatives began boycotting after an April 1st post on Dylan Mulvaney’s Instagram, where the trans influencer celebrated “365 days of girlhood” by showing off a Bud Light can created specifically for the occasion with the star’s face on it. In the post, Mulvaney noted that this was also in celebration of March Madness, which “has something to do with sports”.
Mulvaney’s brand of trans stardom has courted controversy even from those who normally are not opposed to trans-identified people, because Mulvaney’s videos often feature flamboyant depictions of female stereotypes that many biological women find offensive. Many are also disturbed by Mulvaney’s repeated self-identification as a “girl” rather than a “woman”.
In a move which likely sparked more backlash than anything else, Mulvaney interviewed President Joe Biden in October, 2022 and used the opportunity to advocate for children’s access to “gender-affirming” drugs and surgery. Opponents to “gender-affirming care” argue it is unethical experimental medicine with irreversible effects which endanger children’s physical and mental health.
Those who wish to boycott AB InBev have their work cut out for them. Bud Light’s parent company owns over 500 brands spread across 8 brand “families.”
Anheuser Busch doesn’t just own Budweiser; it owns a number of staple American beer brands like Michelob, Shock Top, Stella Artois and Natural Light. AB InBev’s Brewers Collective of microbrewers includes nationally-distributed favorites like Red Hook, Goose Island and Devil’s Backbone. In addition, AB InBev owns the entire Modelo Group of popular Mexican beers.
Those wishing to find a comprehensive list of AB InBev brands can find one on their website.