Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has opened a Senate investigation into Anheuser-Busch and its collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney after she showed off some custom Bud Light cans with her face on them in a 50-second April 1 Instagram video that caused the right to lose its mind for over a month now.
Cruz, along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), wrote a letter to Anheuser-Busch U.S. CEO Brendan Whitworth. The letter asks him, in his additional role as the chair of the Beer Institute, the beer industry’s self-regulatory body, to open an investigation into the collaboration with Mulvany because she might have followers who are under the legal drinking age of 21.
The letter claims that there is evidence that Mulvaney’s audience “skews significantly younger than the legal drinking age.” The “evidence,” as it were, is that Mulvaney once lipsynced to the song “I am Eloise, I am six,” that one of her videos shows her giving prizes to a mall-goer with braces, and that the 26-year-old influencer uses words like “girl” and “girlhood” to refer to herself.
“The use of the phrase ‘Girlhood’ was not a slip of the tongue,” the Cruz/Blackburn letter says.
The letter also asks for marketing documents from Anheuser-Busch because of what Cruz and Blackburn call the company’s “clear failure to exercise appropriate due diligence when selecting online influencers for its marketing efforts” and threatens “detailed oversight by Congress.”
“We would urge you, in your capacity at Anheuser-Busch, to avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from” her social media platforms, the senators threatened.
Since Mulvaney posted the video last month, conservatives posted videos as they dumped out Bud Light beer and shot up cases of Bud Light with semiautomatic rifles. Elected Republicans claimed that Mulvaney was a pedophile (without any evidence at all) and that the global balance of power would be upset by Mulvaney’s Instagram video. Others said that they were boycotting Bud Light, often switching to other LGBTQ+-friendly brands.
Bud Light’s leadership at Anheuser-Busch hasn’t exactly stood by Mulvaney as she endured these attacks. By the end of April, Bud Light’s parent company – Anheuser-Busch – had put out a weak statement saying that it “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,’” comedian John Oliver joked about the statement at the time.
This month Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris was caught distancing the company from Mulvany on a call with investors.
“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said. Many conservatives have incorrectly referred to the brand partnership as an “ad campaign.”