Controversial podcaster Joe Rogan called transgender online influencer Dylan Mulvaney “mentally ill” and said he is merely seeking attention with his online persona. In a recent interview with rapper Ice Cube, Rogan said Anheuser-Busch’s decision to celebrate “365 days of girlhood” by sending the TikTok star a pack of Bud Light with his image on each can has effectively destroyed the company.
Ice Cube questioned why the St. Louis-based brewer made such a bizarre move. “Who controls Bud Light? That’s the question. Why would they make a dumb decision like that? Are they trying to ruin Bud Light? Are they trying to take down some of our most iconic American brands?” the rapper asked.
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth refused to comment on the decision during an interview with CBS News. Instead, he took the opportunity to emphasize that the company had only engaged in one promotion with Mulvaney and there was no ongoing or future relationship between them.
Mulvaney broke his silence on the scandal in a recent TikTok video and said Anheuser-Busch had abandoned him in the wake of the backlash. “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,” Mulvaney said.
Bud Light sales continue to fall and have dropped by more than 30% since the backlash began in May. Customers immediately organized boycotts when Mulvaney appeared on Instagram showing off beers with his face on them. The influencer is widely criticized for mocking and satirizing women.
Further boycotts followed when he appeared in Nike adverts to sell clothing, including bras, intended for female customers. Tennis icon Martina Navratilova and British Olympic swimming champion Sharron Davies joined calls for a Nike boycott, with Davies describing the stunt as a “kick in the teeth” for women and female athletes.