Bud Light Faces Backlash for Partnering with Transgender TikTok Star: Exploring the Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusivity

Bud Light, a beer brand owned by Anheuser-Busch, recently faced backlash for partnering with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.[0] Mulvaney revealed on social media that Bud Light sent her a personalized beer can with her surgically feminized face printed on it to celebrate her “365 Days of Girlhood.”[0] The controversy led to calls for a boycott of the brand, with country singer Travis Tritt and conservative politicians like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) urging people to stop buying Anheuser-Busch products. Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, has long supported LGBTQ+ organizations and events, but the backlash has highlighted the ongoing debate over corporate social responsibility and the role of companies in promoting diversity and inclusion.[1] In response, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth released a statement saying the company never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people and that they are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.[2] Bud Light VP Alissa Heinerscheid, who recently appeared on the Make Yourself at Home podcast, said that reaching a new audience is crucial for the brand and that her goal is to “evolve and elevate” the brand by focusing on inclusivity.[3] Meanwhile, Mulvaney has faced backlash for partnering with other brands like Nike, with Caitlyn Jenner criticizing the sports apparel company for endorsing Mulvaney, who is not a current or former athlete.[4]

0. “Anheuser-Busch Rep Bragged About Using Company To Push DEI” The Federalist, 11 Apr. 2023, https://thefederalist.com/2023/04/11/top-anheuser-busch-official-previously-bragged-about-using-companys-brands-to-push-dei-onto-consumers/

1. “Bud Light uproar exposes need for marketers to manage marketer influencer controversies” Digiday, 14 Apr. 2023, https://digiday.com/marketing/marketers-should-prepare-to-manage-controversy-with-influencer-marketing-efforts/

2. “Anheuser-Busch breaks silence after Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney controversy” Fox Business, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/anheuser-busch-breaks-silence-bud-lights-dylan-mulvaney-controversy

3. “Bud Light’s inclusive ad campaigns are good for business, experts say” CNN, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/12/business/bud-light-dylan-mulvaney/index.html

4. “Anheuser-Busch CEO responds to uproar over Dylan Mulvaney sponsorship” The Hill, 14 Apr. 2023, https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/3951299-anheuser-busch-ceo-responds-to-uproar-over-dylan-mulvaney-sponsorship/