CEO Begs Conservatives To End Bud Light Boycott: ‘Don’t Make Me Lay Off My Employees’

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CEO Brendan Whitworth has gone on record begging conservatives who are boycotting Bud Light to reconsider their position and not punish the thousands of employees who work for Anheuser-Busch.

According to Whitworth, who is a former CIA agent, Bud Light boycotters should blame him for Dylan Mulvaney’s unfortunate promotion and not punish the company’s 65,000 employees.

Speaking to CBS on Wednesday, Whitworth said he claimed personal responsibility for the disastrous promotion with transgender influencer Mulvaney.

“One thing I would like to make very clear is that influence is my responsibility. As CEO, I’m accountable for everything we do,” he said in the interview, which he reposted on LinkedIn, but not before disabling comments on the post.

Fortune report: When asked what bothered him most, he said it was his 18,000 employees and an additional 47,000 people employed by its distributors. He said that this number does not count the farmers who were affected by the boycott.

Urging people to drink Bud Light during the upcoming 4th of July weekend, he added, “Honestly, it’s the impact it has on the employees that impresses me the most.”

While Anheuser-Busch has sought to downplay Mulvaney’s role in its strategy, Whitworth confirmed that the company would not change its stance toward their partnership.

“Bud Light has supported LGBTQ since 1998, that’s 25 years, and as we’ve said from the beginning, we will continue to support the communities and organizations we’ve supported for decades,” he added.

He may have tried to shield his employees from the consequences of the promotion, but he also didn’t explicitly apologize for partnering with Mulvaney. Many consumers claimed that this official acknowledgment of fault was a condition for winning back their business.

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Analysis by Deutsche Bank shows that while 21% of Bud Light consumers are buying more, another 18% have reduced their purchases. The promotion of a transgender image on social media has caused nearly a quarter of people to stop buying beer altogether.

Whitworth and brand chief Todd Allen are now hoping a new campaign will revive sales after demand fell off a cliff amid the controversy. As part of this, investments for the brand are set to triple this year, including spending on sports, primetime and cable television.

Whether this will be sufficient is questionable.

“It is outrageous that you think an advertisement about summer will make us forget our principles. The boycott continues,” wrote conservative podcaster Liz Wheeler who last week demanded an official apology.

The CEO acknowledged that dealing with the boycott is turning his hair more gray, but said he likes working for an “institution” like Anheuser-Busch that is “a degree separate from the American flag.”

Whitworth may be under immense pressure to rectify a situation that risks spiraling out of control, but he is certainly not the only one in the firing line.

Alisa Hennershed, the first woman to head Bud Light in its more than 40-year history, became a huge target of angry consumers after partnering with transgender influencer Mulvaney to expand the beer’s reach.

Many were outraged by his comment that the declining beer brand had become “out of touch”, as he described the “brittle” brand of humor as desperately in need of change in order to survive.

He was placed on administrative leave, along with Anheuser-Busch’s global vice president of marketing, Daniel Blake.

“Given the circumstances, Alyssa has decided to take a leave of absence, which we support,” a company spokesperson said. The same is true of Blake, he said. “In the interest of the safety and privacy of our employees, we are not providing any additional information.”

Baxter Dmitry
About Baxter Dmitry 6012 Articles
Baxter Dmitry is a writer at The People's Voice. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.