Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cruz, Blackburn Probe Anheuser-Busch’s Partnership With Dylan Mulvaney

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., are questioning the propriety of Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney to promote the beer company’s Bud Light brand.

The two Republican senators sent a letter Wednesday to Beer Institute chief Brendan Whitworth, who also is CEO of Anheuser-Busch Companies, demanding documents and requesting that the institute’s Code Compliance Review Board “open an investigation to review Anheuser-Busch’s recent and ongoing marketing partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.

Mulvaney, a 26-year-old biological male, is a popular TikTok influencer who identifies as a transgender woman and has partnered with a slew of high-profile brands in addition to Bud Light.

Cruz and Blackburn ask Whitworth to “avoid a lengthy investigation” by publicly severing its relationship with Mulvaney, publicly apologizing for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and directing Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from TikTok and his other social media platforms.

“The Beer Institute must examine whether your company violated the Beer Institute’s Advertising/Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines prohibiting marketing to individuals younger than the legal drinking age,” Cruz and Blackburn write in their letter to Whitworth, chairman and senior director of the Beer Institute in addition to being Anheuser-Busch’s chief executive officer.

Anheuser-Busch, which owns both the Budweiser and Bud Light beer brands, faced backlash after Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney for a contest during March Madness. The beer company gave Mulvaney custom cans of Bud Light featuring his image to commemorate his first year living as a woman.

The Beer Institute describes itself as “a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers.”

“The evidence detailed below overwhelmingly shows that Dylan Mulvaney’s audience skews significantly younger than the legal drinking age and violates the Beer Institute’s Advertising/Marketing Code and Buying Guidelines,” Blackburn and Cruz write to Anheuser-Busch’s Whitworth, adding:

We would urge you, in your capacity at Anheuser-Busch, to avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from his social media platforms.

Cruz is the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; Blackburn is the ranking member of the Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security subcommittee.

They go on to write to Whitworth:

Second, we believe that Anheuser-Busch’s clear failure to exercise appropriate due diligence when selecting online influencers for its marketing efforts warrants detailed oversight by Congress. To that end, this letter includes a series of document requests that will help clarify how Anheuser-Busch vets its partnerships and how Anheuser-Busch failed in assessing the propriety of a partnership with Dylan Mulvaney. Our document requests can be found at the end of this letter.

The Blackburn-Cruz letter points to Mulvaney’s TikTok account, which has almost 11 million followers, and its content. The senators specifically note his series, “Days of Girlhood,” and some examples from it, including:

Dylan Mulvaney lip-syncing “I am Eloise, I am 6″ while dressed as a small child. This video gathered 7.1 million views. It aired 13 days before the Bud Light partnership.

Dylan Mulvaney during “Day 100 of being a girl” “at the mall” giving away merchandise and cash to teenage girls, at least one of whom was still in braces. That video garnered over 11 million views.

Dylan Mulvaney pandering to teen developmental issues when he recorded a TikTok pining about “30,000 people want to be my first kiss as a girl.” That video received 9.6 million views.

Blackburn and Cruz ask for copies of numerous documents from Anheuser-Busch by May 31, including “All documents or communications between or among any employees of Anheuser-Busch regarding the partnership between Anheuser-Busch and Dylan Mulvaney” and “Copies of all scripts, including any and all drafts, reviewed by Anheuser-Busch for social media content from Dylan Mulvaney.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from Anheuser-Busch for this report, but it did not immediately respond.