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Anheuser-Busch Boss in Hot Seat Over Dylan Mulvaney, LGBTQ+ Rights

Anheuser-Busch Boss in Hot Seat Over Dylan Mulvaney, LGBTQ+ Rights

Brendan Whitworth on CBS Mornings

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth appeared on CBS Mornings and was confronted on his handling of the controversy.

Despite recent controversies, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth says the company is committed to the LGBTQ+ community. Whether the transgender influencer marketing campaign was a mistake was not directly addressed by him during an interview on CBS Mornings.

Whitworth noted that, ultimately, the responsibility for the controversy surrounding Dylan Mulvaney’s Instagram promotion with the beer giant lies with him.

“One thing I’d love to make extremely clear is that impact is my responsibility, and as the CEO, everything we do here I’m accountable for, he said.

“It’s been a challenging few weeks,” he explained. “I think the conversation surrounding Bud Light has moved away from beer, and the conversation has become divisive. And Bud Light really doesn’t belong there. Bud Light should be all about bringing people together. And there’s an impact on the business, and I think that’s publicly covered on Bud Light specifically.”

Right-wing extremists took offense at Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney, for which the influencer made one post on Instagram where she unveiled personalized Bud Light cans with her face on them. They were only promotional items and were not produced widely.

Those on the right got so upset at the brand for affirming a trans brand representative that they began boycotting the company. Singer Kid Rock went so far as to shoot up cases of Bud Light with an assault rifle, a video of which he posted online.

Whitworth responded to a question about whether the company would do this campaign over again.

“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now, and big brands are right in the middle of it, and it’s not just our industry or Bud Light. It’s happening in retail, happening in fast food. And so for us what we need to understand is — deeply understand and appreciate is — the consumer and what they want, what they care about and what they expect from big brands.”

Recently right-wing radicals focused on Target, Chick-fil-A, and Cracker Barrel for either supporting the LGBTQ+ community explicitly or having departments focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Whitworth wouldn’t directly answer whether he believed that the promotion with Mulvaney was a mistake.

“As we move forward, you know, 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 employees, take care and support our partners and ultimately make an impact in the communities that we serve,” he said.

The CEO also wouldn’t address donations by Anheuser-Busch to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians, and he pivoted in response to a question about the company’s stance on queer rights.

“We support politicians that support our business, and when we say that, we talk about things like — things that work for the industry, allow us to grow the business, allow us to employ more people, and really help drive the economy,” Whitworth said.

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