Anheuser-Busch Announces Layoffs Of 350 Employees Following Fallout From Trans Influencer Campaign
Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, revealed its plans to lay off approximately 350 employees, with a majority of the positions being corporate roles, as the company aims to recover from the repercussions of a controversial campaign involving a transgender influencer.
According to a statement by Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth on Wednesday, the layoffs will impact less than 2 percent of the company’s workforce, which currently stands at around 18,000 employees nationwide. Whitworth described the decision as difficult but necessary, stressing that the company’s primary focus is on securing long-term success for its organization.
Frontline staff, including brewery and warehouse workers, drivers, and field sales personnel, will be exempt from the layoffs. The move is intended to streamline and simplify the organizational structure of the company by reducing layers within the corporate hierarchy.
The company faced a setback recently as Bud Light lost its title as America’s No. 1 beer to Modelo Especial. The decline in Bud Light’s standing came in the aftermath of a campaign that involved Dylan Mulvaney, a trans influencer, during the NCAA Tournament. The campaign, combined with remarks from Bud Light’s brand ambassador, triggered a nationwide backlash.
Following the controversy, conservative media outlets and social media users shared memes of individuals disposing of Bud Light in various ways, leading to a significant impact on the brand’s reputation. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis even announced that his administration was considering legal action against Anheuser-Busch and its parent company, AB InBev, due to the financial consequences of the campaign.
Since April, AB InBev shares have experienced an approximately 11 percent decline. Furthermore, Nielsen IQ data cited by Bump Williams consulting indicated that Bud Light sales in the last week of June were down nearly 28 percent year on year.
While Whitworth, the CEO of AB, stated last month that the company would continue to support the LGBTQ community, Mulvaney expressed her disappointment in June, revealing that AB never reached out to her after the backlash.
She emphasized in a TikTok video that hiring a trans person and then not standing by them publicly is even worse than not hiring a trans person at all. The controversy surrounding the campaign and its aftermath has created a challenging situation for Anheuser-Busch, leading to the decision to implement layoffs in a bid to reposition the company for the future.
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