ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The CEO of Anheuser-Busch has responded to backlash and calls to boycott Bud Light over the brand’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
CEO Brendan Whitworth said the company “never meant to be part of a discussion that divides people” in a lengthy statement published to Anheuser-Busch’s social media accounts on Friday.
“As the CEO of a company founded in America’s heartland more than 165 years ago, I am responsible for ensuring every consumer feels proud of the beer we brew,” Whitworth wrote, adding that Anheuser-Busch has “a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere.”
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” the statement continued. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Whitworth did not specifically make mention of Dylan Mulvaney, the trans activist and influencer recently featured in advertisements and on cans of Budweiser as part of a partnership with Anheuser-Busch.
Pushback from conservative consumers came earlier this month, after Mulvaney shared a sponsored post promoting Bud Light’s March Madness contest.
Kid Rock, in an apparent response to the partnership, shared a video of himself wearing a MAGA cap and shooting at cases of Bud Light before saying, “F— Bud Light, and f— Anheuser-Busch.” Country music singer Travis Tritt also announced a ban of Anheuser-Busch products from his tour.
Mulvaney eventually responded to the controversy on an episode of Rosie O’Donnell’s podcast, calling herself an “easy target,” The Hill reported.
“I think going after a trans woman who has been doing this for 20 years is a lot more difficult,” she said.
Whitworth, in Friday’s statement, added that Anheuser-Busch will continue to place importance on “the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another.”
“I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands and our partners,” Whitworth said.