Transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney has just released a video statement that she says she “should have made months ago” after enduring a barrage of transphobic attacks over her collaboration with the beer brand Bud Light.
In her statement, released Thursday on Instagram, Mulvaney drinks a beer and says “something uncomfy” has been “sitting on [her] chest.”
Right-wingers on social media threatened to boycott, delete, or throw out his music.
“I took a brand deal with a company that I loved, and I posted a sponsored video to my page,” she said, not mentioning Bud Light by name. “And it must have been a slow news week because, the way that this ad got blown up, you would have thought I was like on a billboard or on a TV commercial or something major. But no, it was just an Instagram video.”
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She’s referring to her 50-second Instagram video, posted on April 1, in which she revealed a custom Bud Light can with her face on it. Over the next month, conservatives lost their minds, posting videos as they dumped out Bud Light cans and shot up cases of Bud Light with semiautomatic rifles. Elected Republicans baselessly claimed that Mulvaney was a pedophile and that the global balance of power would be upset by her Instagram video. Others said that they were boycotting Bud Light, often switching to other LGBTQ+-friendly brands.
“What transpired from that video was more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined,” Mulvaney continued in her recent video. “And I should have made this video months ago but I didn’t. And I was scared, and I was scared of more backlash, and I felt personally guilty for what transpired. So I patiently waited for things to get better, but — surprise! — they haven’t really. And I was waiting for the brand to reach out to me, but they never did.”
“And for months now I’ve been scared to leave my house,” she added. “I have been ridiculed in public, I’ve been followed, and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And I’m not telling you this because I want your pity. I am 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.”
“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 said. “because it gives customers permission to be as transphobic and hateful as they want. And the hate doesn’t end with me. It has serious and grave consequences for the rest of our community and, you know, we’re customers too. I know a lot of trans and queer people who love beer, and I have some lesbian friends who could drink some of those haters under the table. But to turn a blind eye and pretend everything is okay, it just isn’t an option right now.”
Mulvaney then said that supporting trans people shouldn’t be “political,” and added, “I know it’s possible because I’ve worked with some fantastic companies who care. But caring about the LGBTQ+ community requires a lot more than just a donation somewhere during Pride Month. And all of this is to say, bottom line: If you follow me, if I’ve made you smile, if you care about me, I need you to care about every trans person, and I need you to support us, and I need you to stand by us.”
She then noted that it’s still Pride Month and pledged to “celebrate being alive” as well as “the trans people in my life and the ones that haven’t met yet.”
“And I’m going to celebrate the fact that no matter how many thousands of horrible messages or news anchors misgendering me or companies going silent, that I can look in the mirror and see the woman that I am and that I love being,” she said.
She concluded by asking people to donate to the Trans Law Center, adding, “I would love for something productive to come from this… [They are] doing some wonderful work.”
By the end of April, after Mulvaney had received massive backlash, Bud Light’s parent company – Anheuser-Busch – put out a statement saying that it “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” adding, “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Online commenters noted that the company donates big bucks to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris was also criticized for not standing up for Mulvaney, transgender people, or LGBTQ+ people more generally in the face of the transphobic rage that followed the sponsored video.
In response, several LGBTQ+ bars stopped serving Bud Light, Colorado’s gay Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced his lifelong boycott of the brand, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) kicked Anheuser-Busch off the top of its corporate equality index (CEI), a measure of various companies’ LGBTQ+-inclusive workplace practices.
HRC senior vice president of programs, research, and training, Jay Brown, said that he asked Anheuser-Busch to release a statement in support of Mulvaney and transgender people, offer inclusion training to executives, and listen to LGBTQ+ employees, but the company hasn’t done any of those things. In fact, two of the marketing executives who worked on the Mulvaney partnership have been put on leave, which many on the right claimed as a victory resulting from their boycott.
On June 1, Bud Light attempted to do some damage control by donating $200,000 to support LGBTQ+ business owners of color. In a Wednesday interview, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Brendan Whitworth sidestepped a question about whether the Mulvaney campaign was a mistake, NBC News reported.