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Behind the backlash against Bud Light’s trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney

Some conservative commentators and celebrities began calling for a boycott of Bud Light after trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney promoted the beer on social media on April 1.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch announced on Tuesday that two of its top executives would be furloughed after sales of Bud Light slumped and the brand found itself drawn into the nation’s culture wars.

Ms Mulvaney is popular on TikTok, where she has more than 10.8 million followers, and has been documenting her transformation online. The controversy began on April 1, when she posted a video to her 1.8 million Instagram account promoting a Bud Light competition.

Ms. Mulvaney, 26, celebrated a full year of her “Girls’ Generation” series with a live performance titled “Dylan Mulvaney’s Day 365 Live!” at Rockefeller Center in March.

Her Bud Light promo post is less than a minute long and features a company-sponsored $15,000 giveaway during March Madness. She mentioned that the company sent her a tall jar with her face on it to celebrate the 365-day milestone.

Ms. Mulvaney has become more popular in the year since she created Girls’ Generation. In October, she spoke with President Biden about transgender rights at the White House.

This success was met with personal attacks from public figures, including Senator Martha BlackburnThe Tennessee Republican, as well as Republican transgender woman and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, whose political stance has made her a target of criticism from members of the LGBTQ community.

Ms. Mulvaney did not speak directly about the Bud Light boycott, but she addressed the antagonism she faced in an interview on the “Moving Forward with Rosie O’Donnell” podcast released Tuesday. She was “an easy target,” she said, “because I was new to it.”

“I think it’s much harder to go after a trans woman who’s been doing this for 20 years,” she said.

She added, “But what are their goals?”

The call for a boycott did not include specific demands. Some of the most prominent voices supporting it have attacked the transgender community in the past, including musician Kid Rock, who this month posted a video of himself filming a bunch of Bud Light cases.

The criticism of Bud Light, among other complaints about brand partnerships with transgender people, comes as Republican state lawmakers introduce legislation aimed at regulating the lives of young transgender people and limiting drag shows, which could include transgender performances , as well as requiring schools to hand over transgender students to their parents.

Anna Tuchman, an associate professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has studied boycotts, including calls for people to stop buying Goya Foods products in 2020 after the company’s president praised President Donald J. Trump. Her study and others like it have found that such efforts are often short-lived and have no long-term impact.

Professor Tuchman said that while people might be willing to change their behavior within a few weeks, it was much harder to convince people to change their long-term behavior.

Another hurdle to boycotts is finding alternatives.

Anheuser-Busch sells more than 100 brands of beer in the United States and is the largest brewer in the world.

One of the boycott supporters, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, posted a video online showing that his refrigerator was out of Bud Light, but instead contained a beer from Anheuser-Busch ( Anheuser-Busch’s Karbach Brewing Company.

A “buycott” is when people buy a product in protest of a boycott. Prof Tuchman found that during the Goya boycott, the company’s sales rose by 22% over a two-week period before falling back to baseline levels.

Offspring who goes after country musician Travis Tritt said he would stop including Bud Light in his tour rider Kevin John Wasserman by Noodles guitarist, say band Will include Anheuser-Busch products in its riders.

Before the boycott, Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, said in an interview that the brand needed to be more inclusive.

“The brand is going downhill,” Ms. Heinerscheid said on the “Make Yourself at Home” podcast in March. “It’s been down for a long time. Budweiser has no future if we don’t attract younger drinkers to the brand.”

Ms. Heinerscheid and Daniel Blake, who oversee Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brand marketing, are now on leave, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

“We’ve made some adjustments to simplify the structure of our marketing function with fewer layers so that our most senior marketers are more closely tied to all aspects of our brand activity,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “These steps will help us continue to focus on what we do best: brew great beer for all consumers, while always having a positive impact on our communities and our country.”

LGBTQ people in the U.S. have an estimated $1.1 trillion in annual purchasing power, according to a 2019 report by financial services firm LGBT Capital.

Marketing campaigns featuring LGBTQ people will continue, Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, said in an emailed statement. “Companies are not going to end the standard business practice of including diverse people in advertising and marketing just because a few rowdy fringe anti-LGBTQ activists are speaking out on social media,” she said.

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