Months after the scandal involving social media star Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light began, the influencer has spoken out about the way the brand has handled the situation, revealing that they never reached out to her.
Following their collaboration in April, Mulvaney and Bud Light have been receiving major transphobic hate.
Musician Kid Rock, for instance, made his stance clear by shooting cans of the beer, while country singer Travis Tritt banned the brand from his tour for collaborating with a transgender individual.
Here is a look at who Dylan Mulvaney is, what the scandal is all about, and what Mulvaney said about Bud Light’s response to the transphobic comments that have taken over social media.
Who is Dylan Mulvaney?
Raised as a boy in a family she told Variety magazine was conservative, Mulvaney starred in the stage musical The Book of Mormon. She also had roles in other plays during the late 2010s as her profile grew.
Mulvaney came out as a trans woman during the Covid-19 pandemic. But, while she has been living as a woman for only a year, she said she has felt female since childhood. She considers March 13, 2022, as her first day of being a woman.
She told Variety: “I came out to my mom at [age] four. I told her, ‘I’m a girl.’ We were very, very religious so she was like, ‘God doesn’t make mistakes.’ But I didn’t know that I could transition. I didn’t know that there were options or resources.”
Mulvaney has shared her journey on social media and celebrated her anniversary of being a girl last month. Since then, she has showcased her femininity through an appearance at the Grammy Awards and interviews.
Following her transition, Mulvaney has used both she/her and they/them pronouns.
On coming out, she told the New York Observer: “I downloaded TikTok, assuming it was a kids’ app. Once I came out as a woman, I made this ‘day one of being a girl’ comedic video.
“And it blew up. I really don’t know another place online like TikTok that can make a creator grow at the rate that it does.”
She now has more than 10 million followers on TikTok.
Why has Dylan Mulvaney attracted criticism in the past?
Mulvaney’s profile blew up when she met President Joe Biden at a presidential forum for NowThis News and the pair discussed gender issues. After they both condemned transgender legislation favoured by Republicans, she became a target of online trolls and more mainstream opponents.
“Dylan Mulvaney, Joe Biden, and radical left-wing lunatics want to make this absurdity normal,” tweeted Republican senator Marsha Blackburn after the presidential visit.
Mulvaney was this month given further mainstream exposure when she became the face of two major advertising campaigns.
Nike and Bud Light campaigns
Firstly, on April 6, she dressed in leggings and a sports bra while doing yoga to advertise Nike Women. The promotion was the subject of a fiery debate on GB News.
Then, over the Easter weekend, she posted the Bud Light collaboration campaign on her Instagram to celebrate March Madness and her first year of womanhood.
Her collaboration with Bud Light left many bewildered. Those upset by the campaign were quick to share their frustrations online.
Conservative-aligned musician Kid Rock filmed himself shooting Bud Light beer cans in response. Country musician Travis Tritt said he would boycott the brand.
At the time, transgender comedian Ian Harvie revealed that he believes Bud Light “was never genuine” and used hot-topic issues to make money.
Slamming the company for failing to support Dylan Mulvaney in the aftermath of their brand partnership, Harvie told Ad Age that he never felt Bud Light’s brewery, Anheuser-Busch, was a genuine ally to transgender people. Like Mulvaney, Harvie was also featured in a Bud Light commercial, in 2016.
His comments came after Anheuser-Busch placed two executives on leave, after they managed the beer company’s sponsorship of two Instagram posts from transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, according to media reports.
These executives were Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, and Daniel Blake, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president, who oversees the market for mainstream brands, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in the email reported by the media. “Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence.”
What did Dylan Mulvaney say about Bud Light’s response to the transphobic backlash?
In a TikTok video captioned “Trans people like beer, too”, the star called out the beer brand for abandoning her after the scandal kicked off.
She said: “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.”
She condemned Bud Light for allowing “customers to be as hateful and transphobic as they want”, saying she faced “more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined”.
Mulvaney said that the company never contacted her in the months that have gone by since their collaboration video was released.
“For months now, I have been scared to leave my house. I have been ridiculed in public. I have been followed, and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she said.
The star added: “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.”
Mulvaney shared that she wanted to explain her feelings months ago, but she was scared of being on the receiving end of more anti-trans hate.
She said: “I patiently waited for things to get better. But surprise: they haven’t, really.”
Anheuser-Busch hasn’t commented on the matter thus far, but The Standard has contacted the company for their response.