CNN News Central ran a segment Tuesday in which national correspondent Ryan Young misgendered trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney and highlighted anti-trans viewpoints. CNN has now apologized for the misgendering.
The segment dealt with backlash that brewer Anheuser-Busch received after partnering with Mulvaney to promote its Bud Light beer. Several right-wing celebrities, such as Kid Rock, and conservative activists lambasted the company for the relationship and called for a boycott, and some of its factories were targeted by bomb threats. Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ advocates were angered by Anheuser-Busch’s lukewarm response to the criticism.
Anchor Kate Bolduan noted that Bud Light sales had fallen 28 percent in the past four weeks, then introduced Young. He talked to two people who objected to the Mulvaney partnership, with one saying, “People just don’t want it shoved down their throat,” and another saying, “We don’t need to put that in the young kids’ heads.” A third interviewee appeared to support the company, mentioning that when he overheard a fellow bar patron say he was done with Bud Light, “everybody else in the bar kind of rolled their eyes at him.”
Young then explained the controversy, misgendering Mulvaney, a trans woman, in doing so. “He, of course, is the transgender person they were going to sponsor and go along with, with Bud Light,” Young said. “But [the LGBTQ+ community] didn’t like how Bud Light didn’t stand by him after all this.”
CNN got roasted for the segment. Ari Drennen of Media Matters for America tweeted video of it and called it “unbelievably bad,” adding that it could have run on Fox News. The Daily Beast dubbed it a “cringe segment.”
Bolduan didn’t correct Young at the time, but she did on Wednesday’s broadcast. “Yesterday in a segment about transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who was featured in Bud Light’s recent campaign, she was mistakenly referred to by the wrong pronouns,” she said. “CNN aims to honor individuals’ ways of identifying themselves, and we apologize for that error.”
The Advocate has sought further comment from CNN but has not received a response.