Dylan Mulvaney has finally addressed the Bud Light backlash.
The beer brand has been embroiled in controversy since their decision to partner with the transgender influencer back in March, a decision that’s led to massive boycotts and huge losses in both sales and stock prices for what was once the top selling beer in America (a title that now belongs to Modelo thanks to the backlash).
Through the controversy though, Mulvaney has been silent. Until today, when the influencer took to social media to address Bud Light’s handling of the situation.
In the video, Mulvaney addresses the partnership with Bud Light:
“I took a brand deal with a company that I loved. And I posted a sponsored video to my page. And it must have been a slow news week because the way that this ad got blown up you would have thought that I was like, on a billboard, or on a TV commercial, or something major. But no. It was just an Instagram video.
And the wildest part is that they also sent me one can with my face on it. You might have seen it…”
And the influencer also talks about the backlash that’s resulted, while criticizing Bud Light for not being more supportive:
“I’m bringing it up because what transpired from that video was more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined.
I should have made this video months ago, but I didn’t. And, I was scared and I was scared of more backlash and I felt personally guilty for what transpired. So, I patiently waited for things to get better, but surprise, they haven’t really.
And I was waiting for the brand to reach out to me, but they never did. And for months now, I’ve been scared to leave my house. I’ve been ridiculed in public. I’ve been followed and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
Mulvaney says that Bud Light’s handling of the situation is worse than if they had never done the partnership to begin with:
“For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse in my opinion than not hiring a trans person at all because it gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want.
And the hate doesn’t end with me. It has serious and grave consequences for the rest of our community.
And you know, we’re customers too. I know a lot of trans and queer people who love beer. And I have some lesbian friends who could drink some of those haters under the table.
But to turn a blind eye and pretend everything’s okay, it just isn’t an option right now.”
For their part, Bud Light is doing everything they can to seemingly ride the fence while trying to right the ship – a strategy that, to this point, hasn’t been working for them.
Alissa Heinerscheid, the marketing VP who came up with the Mulvaney campaign, has taken a ton of heat for her decision to partner with Mulvaney for the commemorative can, but then dug her heels in even further when she called the brand’s identity “fratty” and “out of touch.”
The beer brand has seen losses to the tune of nearly $30 billion dollars since April 1st, and Heinerscheid has since taken a “leave of absence,” following the backlash.
However now, one anonymous current regional head of marketing for Anheuser-Busch told The Daily Callerthat Heinerscheid and head of the company’s mainstream portfolio, Daniel Blake, have been fired.
The source told the outlet:
“To my understanding if we publicly announced the word ‘fire’ it opens up the potential for them to sue us. That’s why we said leave of absence.”
Heinerscheid was reportedly fired because:
“The wholesalers would have had an absolute HAY DAY with leadership if they didn’t remove her.”
The anonymous source did say that Blake was “awesome,” and felt like he just got caught in the crossfire of everything and didn’t deserve to be let go.
“Wholesalers were told they are both gone for good by leadership during in-person conversations. They already shifted all their direct reports to new people and the head of marketing.”
However, according to the New York Post,Anheuser-Busch is denying the report that Heinerscheid and Blake have been fired.
Anheuser-Busch US CEO Brendan Whitworth also stopped by Good Morning America this week, as he’s on a mission to meet with customers and beer drinkers and to have conversations regarding the future of the brand.
However, when asked straight up if he would do the Dylan Mulvaney can again, he declined to give an answer one way or the other:
“As we move forward, we want to focus on what we do best, which is brewing great beer for everyone, listening to our consumers, being humble in listening to them, making sure that we do right by our employee, take care and support our partners, and ultimately make an impact in the communities that we serve.”
Whitworth pointed out that the company has a history of supporting the LGBTQ community, including rainbow cans, but wouldn’t admit that he would do it again.
However, he also didn’t say that they wouldn’t do it again… so it’s anybody’s guess.
At the end of the day, Bud Light is going to try and ride the fence as long as possible: They don’t want to piss off or alienate any group of consumers, but in the process they’ve just manage to alienate both sides of the debate.
Bold strategy, but one that doesn’t seem to be paying off.