A transgender influencer whose promotion of Bud Light on social media has come under attack from conservatives and the brand boycott spoke directly about the controversy for the first time on Thursday, saying he had been intimidated and the brewer had failed to contact him publicly. from enmity.
Since April, when influencer Dylan Mulvaney featured Bud Light in an Instagram video, he's faced stalkers and personal attacks, he said in videos he posted on social media. She was also the target of death and bomb threats, according to Alejandra Caraballo, a transgender rights activist who has received threats directed at Ms. Mulvaney.
“What happened from that video was more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined,” said Ms. Mulvaney, 26 years. “I have been followed, and I feel a loneliness that I would not wish on anyone.”
Throughout the controversy, he continued, Bud Light had not contacted him. He was afraid to leave his house while the company failed to support him, he said.
“I was waiting for brands to contact me, but they never did,” she says. “For a company to hire a trans person and then not defend them publicly is, in my opinion, worse than not hiring a trans person at all.”
Anheuser-Busch, maker of Bud Light, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday about whether it had tried to contact Ms. Mulvaney has since boycotted.
“As we have said, we remain committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations in a number of communities, including the LGBTQ+ community,” a company representative said via email. “The privacy and safety of our employees and our partners is always our top priority.”
Controversy over Ms. Mulvaney and Bud Light emerged when states passed laws limiting medical care for transgender people; control which bathrooms they can use; and deciding whether schools can approve transgender students' preferred personal pronouns. Republican state lawmakers are also continuing to propose legislation seeking to regulate the lives of young transgender people and requiring schools to hand over transgender students to their parents.
On April 1, Mrs. Mulvaney post videos on his Instagram account, where he has 1.8 million followers, about a $15,000 giveaway that Bud Light sponsored during March Madness. She also mentioned that the company had sent her a tall can with her face on it to celebrate the 365-day milestone of her sharing publicly about her transition journey.
Calls for a boycott followed, sparked in part by those who had previously attacked the transgender community. One of the most prominent voices including musician Kid RockWHO post videos himself shot a stack of Bud Light cases.
Bud Light sales plummeted. Since then, the company's two marketing executives have been on leave. The company also said in May that it would focus its marketing campaign on sports and music. This month, Bud Light was dethroned as the country's best-selling beer. Brands are still struggling to win back customers.
Bud Light has been criticized by some members of the LGBTQ community for its lukewarm response to the backlash.
But the conservative outburst has spread to brand partnerships that other companies have done with transgender people. Like Bud Light, retail company Target shifted its marketing in opposition to the company's inclusion of the LGBTQ community. Country singer Garth Brooks criticized when he said at a music event that his new Nashville bar would be serving a wide variety of beers, including Bud Light.
Ms Mulvaney is popular on TikTok, where she has 10.6 million followers and has documented her transition in a viral series she calls “Days of Girlhood”.
Amidst the reaction, Ms. Mulvaney has overcome the animosity he experienced, without responding directly to Bud Light's uproar. He called himself an “easy target” in an interview on the podcast released on April 11th “Because I'm still new to this.” He told his TikTok fans April 28th: “What I have a hard time understanding is the need to be dehumanizing and cruel.”
In the video on Thursday, Ms. Mulvaney called on the company to go beyond donations and promotional campaigns in support of the LGBTQ community.
“Supporting trans people should not be political,” he said. “There should be nothing controversial or divisive about working with us.”