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Bud Light's Parent Company Lays Off 380 Workers Amid Declining Sales

Bud Light's Parent Company Lays Off 380 Workers Amid Declining Sales

Bud Light can

Anheuser-Busch was criticized for a marketing partnership with transgender celebrity Dylan Mulvaney, then failed to stand up for her.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light and many other beers, is laying off about 380 workers amid declining sales.

“Today we took the very difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a number of positions across our corporate organization,” said a statement issued by Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth this week. “While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success.”

The layoffs affect corporate employees, not frontline workers such as “brewery and warehouse staff, drivers, and field sales, among others,” a spokesperson said in a statement provided to national media. The cuts “will simplify and reduce layers within its organization,” the spokesperson added.

Company officials said the staff cuts represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. workforce. As Anheuser-Busch employs 19,000 people in the nation, 2 percent would amount to 380 workers.

The company saw declining sales of Bud Light, with Modelo overtaking it as the best-selling beer in the U.S., after a controversy involving its marketing partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who posted a video of herself with a specially designed Bud Light can, bearing her image, on social media this spring, celebrating her one-year anniversary of transition. Some observers are blaming the sales dip on right-wing backlash over Mulvaney, but Anheuser-Busch also angered the LGBTQ+ community with its tepid response to conservative criticism.

The company at first issued a statement standing up for Mulvaney, but then Whitworth said in a press release, “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.” Anheuser-Busch also put out an ad showing stereotypical American scenes, not reflecting the nation’s diversity, and placed two marketing executives on leave, including the one who oversaw the partnership with Mulvaney.

Mulvaney addressed the matter in an Instagram video in June. “I took a brand deal with a company that I loved,” she said, “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, on a TV commercial or something major. But no, it was just an Instagram video.”

“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,” she added. “To turn a blind eye and pretend everything is OK, it just isn’t an option right now.”

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