There’s been another development in the Bud Light saga.
On July 18, the Beer Institute (BI) announced that its Code Compliance Review Board (CCRB) found that sponsored posts created for a partnership between Bud Light and influencer Dylan Mulvaney did not violate BI guidelines. BI President and CEO Brian Crawford says that the decision was handed down in a two to one vote.
The sponsored videos in question, initially posted on Mulvaney’s social media accounts on April 1, spurred a conservative boycott and a significant drop in Bud Light sales, which have continued to decline over the past several months. In May, Texas senator Ted Cruz accused Anheuser-Busch of breaching the BI’s Advertising Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines, claiming that the Bud Light parent company was targeting an audience younger than the legal drinking age.
On May 17, Cruz released a public statement including a letter that he and Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee sent to Brendan Whitworth, the Anheuser-Busch CEO and chairman of the Beer Institute, suggesting that he launch an investigation into whether or not the partnership violated BI guidelines. The complaint largely targeted Mulvaney’s TikTok series titled “Days of Girlhood,” in which trans creator Mulvaney joyfully documents her transition and gender-affirming care.
The two CCRB chairmen who voted in favor of the dismissal determined that Mulvaney’s videos featuring Bud Light did not contain any symbols, music, cartoon characters, or language that would suggest the posts were intended for people under the legal drinking age. Additionally, the board used social media analytics program Creator IQ to determine Mulvaney’s Instagram demographics, and deemed that 80.35 percent of her followers are people of legal drinking age, exceeding the required 73.6 percent.
In May, Bud Light lost its status as the No. 1 beer in retail sales, and has since offered buy-backs to wholesalers following transphobic attacks against employees and poor sales. In a June TikTok post, Mulvaney said that despite being accosted by transphobic harassment, stalking, and death threats, Bud Light failed to reach out to her once.