On the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver joined the chorus of voices mocking conservatives and anti-trans trolls for their unhinged reactions to Bud Light’s recent partnership with influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Oliver showed several clips of folks dumping or otherwise destroying cans of the beer, including an infamous video of singer Kid Rock firing an AR-15-style rifle at cases of Bud Light.
“If there’s one thing that hurts a company, it’s destroying their product after it’s already been purchased,” Oliver quipped.
But the host didn’t stop at ridiculing anti-LGBTQ+ trolls. Noting that the controversy comes at a time when anti-trans laws are being passed in state houses across the country to ban gender-affirming care for both young people and adults, Oliver slammed Anheuser-Busch for equivocating in the face of the backlash.
Previously, a spokesperson for the company seemingly defended the partnership with Mulvaney, telling Fox News that “Anheuser-Busch works with hundreds of influencers across our brands as one of many ways to authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points.” The same spokesperson was quick to note that a “commemorative” Bud Light can featuring an image of Mulvaney was a one-of-a-kind gift to the trans TikTok personality and would not be available for purchase.
But as Oliver noted, the company’s CEO, Brendan Whitworth, has since released a statement saying that Anheuser-Busch “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people… We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
“It’s pretty annoying to be both-sides-ing something when the two sides are, ‘I am trans,” and ‘That makes me so mad I’m going to shoot $65 worth of non-refundable beer,” Oliver said of the statement.
He also skewered a new Budweiser ad that seemed to telegraph to transphobic beer drinkers that Bud Light is still for them. The ad, Oliver joked, felt like “the results of feeding an AI program the prompt ‘America freedom I’m sorry.”’
“This feels like a huge misfire for Anheuser-Busch,” Oliver continued. “When bigots are loudly announcing they don’t like your beer because they are bigots, that is an opportunity for you to say, ‘Then our beer is not for you.’”
Meanwhile, over the weekend the Associated Press reported that the ad executive who oversaw the partnership with Mulvaney has taken a leave of absence in the wake of the backlash. A second executive in charge of marketing for Anheuser-Busch is also taking a leave of absence, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Even as some were cheering the partnership earlier this month, progressives on social media were quick to point out Anheuser-Busch’s history of funding anti-LGBTQ+ organizations while marketing to the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn banned the company’s beers after it was revealed that Anheuser-Busch donated over $35,000 to anti-LGBTQ+ state-level politicians.