Anheuser-Busch defended its decision to bring on trans activist and influencer Dylan Mulvaney as its Bud Light brand influencer Monday amid growing backlash from critics.
Mulvaney, a TikTok star with more than 10 million followers, posted a video promoting the beer company’s March Madness contest, offering customers a chance to win $15,000.
In the Instagram footage, the content creator is dressed as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as she opens a can of Bud Light and takes a sip.
“This month I celebrated my 365 days as a woman, and Bud Light sent me probably the best gift ever, a can with my face on it,” Mulvaney said in a video celebrating her year-end transition.
Another video shows the activist drinking a can in her bathroom as part of the campaign.
Conservatives quickly jumped on the campaign trail and criticized the company’s decision to partner with a trans activist. They claimed the brewer was pushing “gender propaganda”.
However, Anheuser-Busch said the cans with Mulvaney’s face were a personal gift to her, and that she is one of hundreds of influencers the company works with.
“Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers for our brands as one of many ways to connect with audiences across different demographics and passion points,” a company spokesperson told Fox News. “From time to time we produce unique memorabilia for fans and brand influencers like Dylan Mulvaney. This commemorative can was a gift to celebrate a personal event and is not for sale to the general public.”
Several conservatives took to Twitter to share their apparent anger about the partnership.
“Is the Bud Light thing an April Fool’s joke?” conservative radio host Eric Erickson tweeted. “I mean, it’s a trash beer, but given the mainstream demographic of Bud Light drinkers, it seems like a terrible marketing stunt.”
Another commenter said the beer distributor had “totally woken up”.
“The message from @budlight to conservative families seems to be:
Mulvaney recently addressed the negative comments and hate she receives as an openly trans woman on The Drew Barrymore Show.
“I think the biggest weapon I can contribute is trans joy… I’m not someone who tries to do anything but be myself and be happy,” she said.