Anheuser-Busch, the Belgian beer giant, is set to lose its former “perfect rating” from the largest LGBTQ advocacy group following the company’s backtracking on the Bud Light controversy involving ‘transgender influencer’ Dylan Mulvaney.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which rates companies based on their LGBTQ policies through the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), informed Anheuser-Busch of the rating cut in a leaked letter obtained by USA Today.
According to the letter shared with USA Today on May 9, the HRC suspended Anheuser-Busch’s Corporate Equality Index score, which assesses companies on their policies towards LGBTQ employees. Companies that achieve a perfect score in the index’s four criteria, including workplace discrimination protections, inclusive benefits, inclusive culture, and responsible citizenship, receive the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” seal of approval.
Anheuser-Busch, previously holding a perfect social credit score of 100, has been given 90 days to respond to the letter, or the HRC may further decrease its score. Anheuser-Busch did not comment on the HRC’s letter but mentioned having an employee resource group supporting LGBTQIA+ employees.
Eric Bloem, senior director at the Human Rights Campaign, criticized Anheuser-Busch’s response, stating that the company missed an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
While the new rating for Anheuser-Busch has not been disclosed, the company has been given a 90-day window to respond. HRC’s website now displays a notice of “points deducted” on Anheuser-Busch’s page.
Anheuser-Busch has been working to repair its reputation after facing significant backlash in April due to an advertisement featuring Dylan Mulvaney, a trans-identified male, and his “365 Days of Girlhood” project with a special Bud Light can. The ad received immediate backlash, leading to a successful boycott of Bud Light and a significant drop in sales.
Anheuser-Busch has since distanced itself from Dylan Mulvaney and attributed the controversial advertisement to a third-party marketing firm. The company plans to focus on marketing efforts to mitigate the damage caused by the Mulvaney campaign, which resulted in a 17% decline in Bud Light sales during the week ending April 15.
Although Anheuser-Busch has lost support from conservative consumers, its intended target audience in America, the company is attempting a temporary camo print redesign of some Bud Light and Budweiser cans. However, it’s unlikely this marketing strategy will regain the support of their base, which has effectively boycotted the company.
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