Anheuser-Busch CEO slams ‘misinformation’ about Dylan Mulvaney controversy as company gives away Bud Light for free

Anheuser-Busch CEO slams ‘misinformation’ about Dylan Mulvaney controversy as company gives away Bud Light for free

Bud Light is now handing out free beer to wholesale distributors amid controversy for partnering with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, a decision Anheuser-Busch executives would like to blot out of the company’s history.

As Bud Light sales continue to spiral downward — now more than 20% since the controversy began — Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Bud Light, is trying to make amends with wholesale distributors. Their plan includes giving distributors free beer, boosting marketing spending, and rushing production of new advertisements, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Company executives are also trying to get a clear message across: The Mulvaney sponsorship was not a formal ad “campaign.”

“We need to continue to clarify the facts — that was one can, one post, one influencer, and not a campaign,” said Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris on a call Thursday as he decried “misinformation.”

Doukeris, meanwhile, said Anheuser-Busch InBev is “providing direct financial support” to distributors, sales reps, and the hospitality industry, frontline industries that are most impacted by the Bud Light boycott. He further explained that it is “too early to have a full view” of the damage the boycott has caused, but admitted the boycott, which began in April, has resulted in losses of “around 1% of our overall global volumes.”

To prevent future advertising controversies, top Anheuser-Busch InBev executives will now oversee marketing campaigns, executives said on the call, the New York Times noted.

Anything else?

At the same time Bud Light tries to make amends, LGBTQ advocacy groups are urging Bud Light not to rescind its alleged support of the LGBTQ community.

“In this moment, it is absolutely critical for Anheuser-Busch to stand in solidarity with Dylan and the trans community,” wrote Jay Brown, senior vice president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, in a letter to Anheuser-Busch last month, The Hill reported.

“However, when faced with anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic criticism, Anheuser-Busch’s actions demonstrate a profound lack of fortitude in upholding its values of diversity, equity, and inclusion to employees, customers, shareholders and the LGBTQ+ community,” the letter continued.

The letter underscores the anxious feelings that distributors are feeling as Anheuser-Busch tries to repair the relationship with its core customers. One distributor who spoke with the Wall Street Journal said he fears Anheuser-Busch could swing too far back in the other direction.

“They didn’t need to take this risk,” the distributor said. “I lost my cowboy bars and now I could lose my gay bars, too.”

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