Transgender Influencer Says Bud Light 'Abandoned' Her

Dylan Mulvaney says she faced “more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined.”

Dylan Mulvaney arrives at the 76th annual Tony Awards in New York, June 11, 2023.
Dylan Mulvaney arrives at the 76th annual Tony Awards in New York, June 11, 2023.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

Transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney says she felt abandoned by Bud Light after facing "more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined" over her partnership with the beer giant.

In a video posted Thursday to Instagram and TikTok, she said she "was waiting for the brand to reach out to me. But they never did." She said she should have spoken out sooner but was afraid and hoped things would get better — but they didn't.

"For months now, I've been scared to leave my house," Mulvaney said. "I have been ridiculed in public. I've been followed, and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn't wish on anyone."

A deluge of criticism and hate erupted soon after Mulvaney cracked open a Bud Light in an Instagram video on April 1 as part of a promotional contest for the beer brand. She showed off a can emblazoned with her face that Bud Light sent to her — one of many corporate freebies she gets and shares with her millions of followers.

Conservative figures and others called for a boycott of Bud Light, while Mulvaney's supporters criticized the beer brand for not doing enough to support her.

In the weeks and months that followed, two marketing executives at parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev took a leave of absence, Bud Light lost its decadeslong position as America's best-selling beer and the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights, suspended its benchmark equality and inclusion rating for the brewing giant.

"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 — because it gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want," Mulvaney said, without naming Bud Light.

Belgium-based ABInBev said Friday that it prioritizes the safety and privacy of its employees and partners and that moving forward, it will focus on brewing "beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter to our consumers."

"As we've said, we remain committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community," the company said in a prepared statement.

Other companies, including Target and Starbucks, have recently come under fire for their efforts to appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, especially during June's Pride celebrations, only to face more outcry when they tried to backpedal.

The clashes come amid a furious and fast-spreading debate over the rights of transgender people. At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors, most since the start of this year.

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