Aright-wing Australian TV host’s tirade against Bud Light has gone viral on social media amid the beer brand’s ongoing backlash.
In early April, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney shared a video on Instagram in which she explained that Bud Light had sent her a beer can with her face on it to commemorate 365 days of her living as a woman. Mulvaney’s Days of Girlhood video series, which charts her first year of transitioning, has been a viral success.
The partnership drew condemnation from a number of conservative social-media users, who issued calls for a boycott. Musician Kid Rock shared footage of himself opening fire on a stack of Bud Light cans, a move that was copied by model Bri Teresi as she took aim at a range of brands.
Amid the criticism and reports of plummeting sales, some Bud Light executives took a leave of absence, including marketing head Alissa Heinerscheid and Daniel Blake, who oversees marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s mainstream brands.
Conservative news personality Rita Panahi has weighed in on the controversy in an almost three-minute rant on her eponymous show broadcast by Sky News Australia. The network’s parent company is Newscorp Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Newscorp, which is helmed by Fox News co-founder Rupert Murdoch. Like Fox News, Sky News Australia leans right and features opinion-based shows.
Arkansas-born Panahi started her segment by introducing the boycott of Bud Light as a “happier story that shows the power of consumers and genuine grassroots activism—not the fake teal variety funded by rich dudes.”
Panahi added that Bud Light has “learned the hard way that the adage ‘go woke, go broke’ isn’t just a cute line, but can become a brutal economic reality.”
“Bud Light was once the dominant market leader in the U.S. It’s had a horrid six weeks after indulging in some reckless corporate virtue-signalling,” Panahi said. “The company thought it could push LGBTQI activism masquerading as diversity and inclusion, which would endear it to the left and increase its brand’s appeal in new markets. But what actually happened was devastating reputational damage, coupled with plummeting sales and market value.”
Panahi then referenced reports of the billions of dollars that parent company Anheuser-Busch had lost in value in recent weeks “as beer drinkers boycotted the brand en masse.”
“Too long, corporates have operated under the misapprehension that their leftist politicking, their leftist virtue-signaling is a cost-free exercise. That’s no longer the case,” Panahi added.
“Author and filmmaker Matt Walsh has labelled the backlash against Bud Light as the most impactful conservative boycott in modern history, and has urged consumers to repeat the behavior with other companies that promote far-left political or social views.”
“The great thing is that this was completely grassroots,” she said. “Many prominent Republicans were actively against the boycott. And that’s true. Donald Trump Jr., Caitlyn Jenner—a bunch of prominent conservatives told people to stop boycotting, but the boycott has continued.”
Panahi concluded her segment by warning Australian corporations “who think their political activism… will not lead to backlash [after] insulting, or even just annoying, a significant portion of your market is a foolhardy exercise indeed.”
A clip of Panahi’s Bud Light tirade was shared on Twitter by conservative commentator Benny Johnson, who added the caption: “Bud Light Boycott goes GLOBAL—Foreign Reporter puts woke brands on NOTICE.”
Bud Light Boycott goes GLOBAL— Foreign Reporter puts woke brands on NOTICE pic.twitter.com/yUD6HZ1AMR
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 22, 2023
The video has garnered more than 80,000 views in the hours since it was uploaded to the micro-blogging platform on Monday.
In recent weeks, a number of social-media users have shared photos and videos of Bud Light on store shelves and at venues, in a bid to illustrate the purported success of their boycott of the beer brand.
The Bud Light backlash has spilled beyond social media criticism and boycotts. A bomb squad was recently dispatched to an Anheuser-Busch facility in Los Angeles following a threatening email.
An employee with the company told Patch Media that other threats were made to facilities across the U.S. after Mulvaney’s Bud Light post.
In an April 14 press release, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said the company had no intention of dividing people.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” read the statement. “I care deeply about this country, this company, our brands, and our partners.
“I spend much of my time traveling across America, listening to and learning from our customers, distributors, and others. Moving forward, I will continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.”
Conservative TV personality Tomi Lahren recently claimed that “mass layoffs” are in the pipeline at Bud Light as a result of the backlash.