As the boycott of Anheuser-Busch continues over Bud Light’s partnership with a transgender influencer, a former executive at the beer company has come forward to explain how major corporations are pressured by powerful investment firms to push the woke agenda.
Earlier this year, Bud Light partnered with so-called “transgender” influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who rose to stardom after posting videos on TikTok documenting his journey into “girlhood.” Many Americans were outraged over the decision, especially because Mulvaney — whose videos feature him masquerading as a woman and doing offensively stereotypical “girly” things — has pushed for allowing minors to receive dangerous and irreversible transgender medical procedures.
Thus, a boycott of Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products began. Much to the surprise of many analysts, the conservative boycott has succeeded so far — with Anheuser-Busch InBev reportedly losing $27 billion in market value and stores reporting difficulties selling their products.
Yikes — Bud Light Sales tanked 60% over the Memorial Day Weekend pic.twitter.com/Sah21aYH90
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 5, 2023
According to former Anheuser-Busch president of sales and distribution Anson Frericks, prominent investment firms have been strong-arming major corporations into pushing far-left values despite the fact that these decisions alienate large swaths of their customer base.
Why has everything gone woke these days? ESG scores.
Here is BlackRock CEO Larry Fink along with the CEO of AmEx explaining his desire to “force behaviors” (2017): pic.twitter.com/wCoeoJBD8x
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) June 4, 2023
“You just have to follow the money. You take a look at BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard – they manage $20 trillion worth of capital,” Frericks said during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
He then explained that these powerful investment firms manage massive pension funds, including the state of California’s pension fund, which is the largest in the United States. According to Frericks, California politicians are able to wield significant influence over which companies the firms invest in.
“In California, for example, they recently have mandated those large pension funds that they divest from things like fossil fuels and oil and gas, and then when Bill de Blasio, [former] mayor of New York, was there, he did the same thing,” he revealed.
“But they also tell BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard if they’re going to manage their money, they have to commit to things like ESG — diversity, equity, inclusion — and adopt firm-wide commitments that they therefore then force onto all the major companies in corporate America,” Frericks added.
He went on to note that his decision to leave Anheuser-Busch came because these large companies were engaging in politics and telling their customers “how to live their lives.”
Frericks also pointed to these companies and investment firms’ reactions to Georgia passing election integrity laws, noting that they were outraged despite the fact that the laws did not affect them.
“But what was crazy to me was that after the fact, BlackRock came out and they said, ‘We’re against this law. We think this is bad for democracy, this is bad for society,’ and they basically then had companies like Coca-Cola, like Delta and heck — even Major League Baseball, they canceled an All-Star Game over this,” he said.
Fmr. Anheuser-Busch Exec. on How BlackRock, State Street, & Vanguard Force Companies to Go Woke
“Citizens should be able to decide these things through free and fair elections, not necessarily with a small group of asset managers and CEOs that are telling individuals how to live… pic.twitter.com/DmnZUVwJKO
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) June 4, 2023
Frericks also warned in an op-ed in the Daily Mail that BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard — otherwise known as “The Big Three” — are “proponents of what’s called ‘stakeholder capitalism,’ which is a belief that businesses should be run not only to increase value to shareholders, but to serve all stakeholders, including government agencies, activists, and non-governmental organizations.”
“The Big Three began to issue guidelines on how they expected their portfolio companies to honor this ‘commitment’ by implementing so-called Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, targets, and scores,” he wrote. “To encourage compliance, the Big Three uses their power as shareholders to influence who sits on corporate boards.”
“The Big Three also wield enormous influence when it comes to executive pay,” Frericks added. “According to one study, a shocking 73% of S&P 500 companies now tie executive compensation to ESG measures. If a CEO doesn’t weigh in on the latest social issue quickly enough, his or her bonus could be in jeopardy.”
He also argued that political and cultural debates “should be settled at the ballot box, not in the board room.”