Anheuser-Busch CEO Says Brand ‘Never Intended’ to Cause Division Over Bud Light
Earlier this month, Kid Rock responded to Bud Light’s collaboration with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney by lining up cases of beer, pulling out his assault rifle, and shooting them. Flipping off the camera, he declared: “Fuck Bud Light and fuck Anheuser-Busch.” Kid Rock’s response to a beer partnership and the surrounding ruckus elicited a 200-word statement issued by the brewing company’s Chief Executive Officer Brendan Whitworth on Friday.
The declaration reads like a carefully crafted piece of crisis PR, in which Whitworth seems to be attempting to placate conservatives boycotting Anheuser-Busch products.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” he writes in the third paragraph. The two before it were dedicated to mapping out the company’s 165-year-old history and its exact number of employees. Sports fans, first responders, and the entire United States military were also mentioned, for some reason. The LGBTQ+ community, however, was not, despite transgender people’s right to exist being the target of this “discussion that divides people.”
To be fair, no one outside of the beer-can shooting community was looking for an apology in the first place. Mulvaney’s collaboration with Bud Light culminated in a single can of beer with her likeness on it in celebration of Day 365, one full year since her transition journey began. It was never even going to be sold in stores. And yet, that was enough for conservatives to use the phrase “Get Woke, Go Broke” and begin pulling the beer from bar shelves.
“I will be deleting all Anheuser-Busch products from my tour hospitality rider,” country artist Travis Tritt warned on Twitter. “I know many other artists who are doing the same.” Other users uploaded videos tossing their Bud Light into the garbage.
John Rich, another country musician, also announced plans to boycott Bud Light by removing it from the bar he owns in Nashville. “In the past several days you’re hard-pressed to find anyone ordering one,” he recently told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “So as the business owner, I go, ‘Hey if you aren’t ordering it, we got to put something else in here.’ At the end of the day, that’s capitalism. That’s how it works.”
For many online, Whitworth’s statement was less of an apology and more of a marketing stunt.
“Anheuser-Busch has INSULTED the customers that built their brand and the flogging needs to continue until they ACTUALLY apologize,” one Twitter user wrote in response, calling the statement an “attempt to weasel out of doing a proper apology.”
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren added: “The response from Anheuser-Busch makes it abundantly clear that the company did not OK this trans fetish. It was some activist twerp, who is hopefully now fired!”
In his statement, Whitworth concluded: “Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.” He’ll be passing Corporate Capitalism 101 with flying colors.
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