“‘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’s chief executive on Friday appeared to respond to the conservative-media backlash to Bud Light’s partnership with a trans influencer, in a statement that contained few specifics but noted the “importance of accountability.”
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” CEO Brendan Whitworth said in the statement. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
“My time serving this country taught me the importance of accountability and the values upon which America was founded: freedom, hard work and respect for one another,” the statement continued. “As CEO of Anheuser-Busch, I am focused on building and protecting our remarkable history and heritage.”
The statement did not mention the influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, by name. It noted that Anheuser-Busch has “thousands of partners, millions of fans and a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere.”
On social media, the statement, which did not contain a direct apology, appeared to disappoint both liberals and conservatives — the latter of whom appeared to be hoping for one. U.S.-listed shares of Anheuser-Busch’s parent company, the Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev
were unchanged after hours.
The anger from the right stemmed from videos Mulvaney posted on social media promoting Bud Light. Many conservatives on social platforms quickly called for a boycott, with some of them posting video showing the destruction of Bud Light. Analysts have said any impact from those calls is likely to be short-lived. And they note that the beer industry has struggled amid rising interest in self-care and alcohol alternatives.
When reached for comment, the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD referred to a statement it put out prior to the one from Anheuser-Busch’s CEO.
“Including our community in marketing is nothing new, but what is new is the extreme right-wing politicization of a company’s creative and business decisions,” GLAAD Chief Executive Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Companies will not end the standard business practice of including diverse people in ads and marketing because a small number of loud, fringe anti-LGBTQ activists make noise on social media.”