Anheuser-Busch executives clearly understand that the company’s Bud Light division made a serious misstep earlier this year by partnering with controversial transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The move, which included a social media marketing campaign and a customized can featuring the social media star’s face, was quickly met with boycotts that are still impacting the brand’s revenue nearly two months later.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a statement touting the company’s “proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere,” asserting that the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”
The statement, which did not include a direct apology, was dismissed as insufficient by many conservative critics while some leftists were upset that Whitworth distanced the company from Mulvaney at all.
This is the non-apology from Bud Light that conservatives are falling all over themselves to hail as a massive victory against wokeness. And this is why I say conservatism is wokeism driving at the speed limit. pic.twitter.com/U4n2AmccQU
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) April 14, 2023
After releasing a new ad with a transparently patriotic theme and placing Budweiser executives responsible for the Mulvaney debacle on leave, the brand has yet to begin recovering its lost sales. Earlier this week, the company was hit with even more bad news.
U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced that they were launching an investigation into the decision to partner with the transgender influencer.
Although an adult, Mulvaney’s schtick on TikTok revolves around “girlhood” and involves activities that are common among children.
As such, the lawmakers are requesting information about the standards by which Anheuser-Busch approves such partnerships and whether teaming up with Mulvaney “violated the Beer Institute’s Advertising/Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines prohibiting marketing to individuals younger than the legal drinking age.”
Cruz and Blackburn sent a letter to the company urging executives “to avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from his social media platforms.”
The requested documents will “help clarify how Anheuser-Busch vets its partnerships and how Anheuser-Busch failed in assessing the propriety of a partnership with Dylan Mulvaney,” the senators wrote.
They have given the company until the end of this month to provide its response.