Trans influencer targeted with hate after promoting Bud Light feels abandoned: ‘I was waiting for the brand to reach out to me, but they never did’

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Influencer and actor Dylan Mulvaney says Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bud Light never reached out to her following anti-trans backlash to a sponsored Instagram partnership she filmed for the brewer. 

Mulvaney uploaded a TikTok video on Thursday that addressed the post and the fallout that ensued. She didn’t mention Bud Light by name, but she opened the clip by drinking a beer and alluding to the Instagram post she made as part of a March Madness promotion with the company. She had previously partnered with the company for a Super Bowl-themed post in February.

“What transpired from that video was more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “I patiently waited for things to get better but, surprise, they haven’t really. And I was waiting for the brand to reach out to me, but they never did.”

“The privacy and safety of our employees and our partners is always our top priority,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in a statement when reached for comment. The spokesperson didn’t directly address Mulvaney’s video and said the company’s focus is on “brewing great beer for everyone.”

In the weeks following Mulvaney’s April 1 sponsored post, conservatives called for boycotts of the brand. AB InBev has tried to distance itself from the controversy, releasing a previous statement that said the company was “in the business of bringing people together over a beer.” Sales have since slipped, and Bud Light lost its top-seller spot to Constellation Brands Inc.’s Modelo on a dollar-value basis.

The company on June 22 also unveiled a new campaign focused on country-and-western concerts. “People want us to get back to what we do best: Being the beer of easy enjoyment,” Todd Allen, Bud Light’s marketing vice president, said of the effort. 

For Mulvaney, the past few months have been fraught. She said she’s been ridiculed and followed in public. There were at least 356 anti-LGBTQ hate incidents between June 2022 and April 2023, according to a recent analysis by the Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD. LGBT people are nine times as likely as non-LGBT people to be a victim of a violent hate crime, per the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in April expressed support for Mulvaney, and called for an end to violent targeting against trans people.

“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 hateful and transphobic as they want,” Mulvaney said in her video. “And the hate doesn’t end with me — it has serious and grave consequences for the rest of our community.”

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