Beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch has found itself at the center of a controversial debate surrounding its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who was recently recruited to promote the brand’s March Madness contest.
The conversation escalated into a highly publicized online protest when Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting three cases of Bud Light with an assault rifle — all while sporting a MAGA hat. “Fuck Bud Light and fuck Anheuser-Busch,” he declared in the video, which now has over 50,000 re-tweets and 200,000 likes.
Country singer Travis Tritt also vocalized his displeasure, tweeting that he would no longer support Anheuser-Busch, the company that produces Budweiser and Bud Light.
“I will be deleting all Anheuser-Busch products from my tour hospitality rider,” the singer stated, referring to the amenities (including snacks and drinks) that an artist receives backstage when they’re scheduled to perform at a venue. “I know many other artists who are doing the same.”
When some commenters on the post requested he reveals those names, Tritt responded: “Other artists who are deleting Anheuser-Busch products from their hospitality rider might not say so in public for fear of being ridiculed and canceled. I have no such fear.”
The singer also disclosed that he had been in business with the brand in the past but had no desire to work with them again. “In full disclosure, I was on a tour sponsored by Budweiser in the ’90s. That was when Anheuser-Busch was American-owned,” he said. “A great American company that later sold out to the Europeans and became unrecognizable to the American consumer. Such a shame.”
Mulvaney’s partnership was never directly addressed by Tritt or Kid Rock, but Tritt tweeted a promo poster from Jack Daniels “RuPaul’s Drag Race” partnership and said, “All the [Jack Daniels] drinkers should take note.”
These responses come amid a wave of conservative state legislatures pushing trans issues to the forefront, passing or proposing laws that would limit drag show performances or ban gender-affirming care for anyone under the age of 18. Tennessee passed a bill that is seen as possibly banning most drag performances in the state, although a federal judge temporarily blocked it last week on the basis that it was too vaguely worded to draw boundaries. Texas also has such a bill under consideration. Kentucky, meanwhile, recently became the latest state to pass anti-trans legislation following lawmakers’ decision to override Gov. Andy Beshear‘s veto of a bill banning gender-affirming care for anyone under the age of 18, while also advising physicians to cease any ongoing gender-transition care for minors.
Before Tritt’s tweets, Anheuser-Busch issued a public response stating, “Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
Variety has since reached out for comment from Anheuser-Busch, Kid Rock and Mulvaney. Tritt denied a request for further comment.
Beyond all the retweets and likes that Kid Rock’s video assault on the beer cans has received, he has been widely ridiculed by non-fans, both for his opinions and for the fact that a portion of the beer cartons remains untouched, even after the rounds he and another apparent shooter to his right expend on the cans.
The most retweeted response to Kid Rock’s video came from Fred Guttenberg, the parent of one of the Parkland school shooting victims, who cited inappropriateness in the singer-rapper aiming assault weapons at what he considers a pro-trans symbol, so soon after a school massacre in Kid Rock’s own current hometown, Nashville.
“Hey Kid Rock, this dad is ‘feeling a little frisky today’,” tweeted Guttenberg, quoting from the performer’s own gunplay video. “Let me be ‘as clear and concise’ as I can with you. This is my daughter Jaime (under the black oval) and these are the students running over her for safety to avoid getting shot by the AR 15 that killed her. FUCK YOU!!!” The Parkland activist’s response to Kid Rock has more than 12,000 retweets and 87,000 likes.
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