Social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney said on Thursday that Bud Light never reached out to her after she experienced widespread transphobic hate in response to her brand partnership with the company earlier this year.
The trans activist was hired by the brand for a promotional campaign during March Madness, where Mulvaney posted a sponsored video on Instagram advertising the beer. The campaign led to outrage from right-wing leaders and consumers who felt threatened by the top-selling brewer’s decision to work with a trans person.
Mulvaney released a video on Thursday speaking up about the backlash and transphobia she has experienced following the Bud Light partnership.
“I’m bringing it up because what transpired from the video was more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined. And I should have made this video months ago, but I didn’t, and I was scared of more backlash, and I felt personally guilty for what happened,” Mulvaney said of the ad campaign, while drinking a glass of beer.
“So, 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,” she continued. “And for months now, I’ve been scared to leave my house, I have been ridiculed in public, I’ve been followed, and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And I’m not telling you this because I want your pity, I’m telling you this because if this is my experience from a very privileged perspective, know that it is much, much worse for other trans people.”
A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, told HuffPost that the “privacy and safety of our employees and our partners is always our top priority.” The spokesperson would not say whether they reached out to Mulvaney since the backlash.
Mulvaney’s video came just hours after Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Brendan Whitworth told “CBS Mornings” that the brewer remains committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community despite the backlash leading to a decrease in sales and pours. But the executive would not say whether he would do the campaign with Mulvaney again.
“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now, and big brands are right in the middle of it, and it’s not just our industry or Bud Light,” Whitworth said. “And so for us, what we need to understand ― deeply understand and appreciate ― is the consumer and what they want, what they care about, and what they expect from big brands.”
Mulvaney first broke her silence on the right-wing backlash in April, when she said on TikTok that she was struggling to comprehend “the need to dehumanize and to be cruel.” The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ rights group, has suspended Anheuser-Busch’s equality and inclusion rating for refusing to support Mulvaney amid the conservative anger.
“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 ― and the hate doesn’t end with me, it has serious and grave consequences for the rest of our community,” Mulvaney said, adding that members of the LGBTQ+ community are also part of Bud Light’s customer base.
“I’m going to celebrate the fact that no matter how many thousands of horrific messages, or news anchors misgendering me, or companies going silent, that I can look in the mirror and see the woman that I am and that I love being.”