top of page

Taste the (Piss-Flavored) Rainbow: Bud Light and the Long Haul of Corporate Allyship

by Fionna Farrell

Opinions Editor


Abandon, fruity people, your fruity cocktails, for the summer comes bearing great news: America’s #1 frat-phrodisiac is now a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. That’s right; Bud Light, the Bud Light of all beers, is now for everyone, and not just people who don’t have opinions—i.e. the Bud Light of people.

Like most things whined about ad nauseam on Twitter, the change seemed to happen overnight. In early April, Bud Light sent a handful of its artisan brews to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who, two sips and one March Madness jab later, would stir up the media storm of the month (or century, if you’re on Reddit a lot or were one of the poor souls drinking Bud Light for its taste).

The hullabaloo invoked by this innocuous ad is completely mystifying to anyone of a slightly rational mindset. In the thirty-second clip, Mulvaney, donning Breakfast at Tiffany’s attire, sits down with five Bud Lights—enough for a mild buzz—and exhorts viewers to participate in a new sweepstakes run by the company. Mulvaney casually inserts that, like the sports fans out there celebrating the big W for their teams or whatever the fuck, she will also soon be celebrating her 365th day of womanhood. For the sole purpose of emboldening her, and aggravating braindead podcast-bro transphobes, Bud Light has put Mulvaney’s face on a special-edition can (not available to the general public).

Illustration by Maia Hadler, Art Director

By the immediate uproar that ensued across the most pitiable spheres of the internet, you’d have thought it was the visage of Saddam Hussein they put on the blue tin. Mere hours after Mulvaney’s ad surfaced, Twitter was ablaze with umbrage from not only run-of-the-mill red-pilled Floridians, but also some of the most sizable corporate monoliths. For example, the world-renowned Florida seafood chain, Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar, claimed that it would be eliminating Bud and Bud Light from its restaurants. Of Coors, that is only the valiant thing to do, when, to owner Joe Penovich, Anheuser-Busch Corporation is the one “causing all this division and anger in our society.”

Meanwhile, redneck Jesus Kid Rock might have won the award for most innovative anti-Bud protest. A couple days following the Ad of Ignominy, Mr. Rock made Candace Owens cream her skirts when he took to shooting up packs of Bud with a machine gun in an open field. “Grandpa’s feeling frisky today,” intoned the Kid. “Fuck Bud Light, and Fuck Anheuser Busch.” After that silver-tongued bastard, how could other women-defending men of culture do anything but follow suit? I think my favorite reaction would have to come from the EIC of the National Review, that handsome far-right devil Richard Lowry, who conducted a taste test between Bud Light and water. Even in these trying times, there are at least some things we can agree upon.

All this media consternation, along with several, if nebulous, calls to boycott Bud Light ultimately begs the question: just why do people care so much? I have been wracking the brain and scratching the head over this for a long period of time, and I’m still not sure I have the answer. Even amid these politically tumultuous times, this sort of upheaval has far breached the point of inanity. I would expect even the most seditious toddlers to behave better when they have their own consumer mainstays stripped away from them.

Any objective, i.e. unabashedly liberal-leaning, observer would perhaps attribute these inflamed reactions from the right to a generalized phobia of progressive ideals. Hating on love and inclusivity, that tends to be these people’s thing, according to people with a house in Cape Cod. But it is critical for us to consider that, even if it doesn’t make anything less mind-bogglingly stupid, the situation is perhaps a bit more complicated than that. Much of the anger directed towards Bud Light seems to stem from something beyond the standard “protect our kids” transphobic idiocy; for a lot of Bud Light drinkers, the idiocy came from something intimate. The ad was a personal affront. Or rather, it struck at the most open and tender wounds inflicted by the modern-day tirade of the woke. The woke mob doesn’t just want your vote; it also wants your identity, your soul.

Obviously, just this mindset alone is as ridiculous as the virulent reactions it has spawned online and across America’s classiest bars. Whether its main demographic likes it or not, Anheuser-Busch, like any multi-billion dollar corporation, knows that the hard truth of 2023 consumerist America is, you’ve gotta appeal to the young to stay afloat. Unfortunately for the old boys, this means making beer that is equally unenjoyable for everyone. The newly-Coronated Bud-foes out there don’t have too much cause to fret, though. Thanks to Seth Weathers—no, you should not know who he is—-Bud sees formidable competition with the newly-touted “100% Ultra-Right Woke-Free Beer.” No, I am not making that up—-but the beer seems to be dropping from breweries everywhere, sadly, due to, you guessed it, a bit of a marketing slip-up.

Despite the really insane brew-haha (do forgive me; puns are my chosen form of inebriation) that has come of this incident, it does give cause to deeper reflection about the nature of progressive marketing and corporate allyship at large. That is, if one would go so far to characterize Bud’s marketing decision as such, as opposed to what a cynic might simply call pandering. With pride month upon us, it is important to hold corporations accountable for their ostensible values and those they choose to promote. After all, this is far from Dylan Mulvaney’s first rodeo in the advertising world. She’s worked with the big three for women everywhere—Nike, Adidas, and Tampax. While it is ultimately a good thing, no matter how you spin it, for companies to be practicing and promoting inclusivity, we also need to be cautious when wokeness is ventriloquized for shmoney. It is no easy skill to tell the difference. But we must always be critical, nonetheless. The sad irony of this situation is, it is often the marginalized voices whom these companies “stand for” that ultimately end up getting swept aside.

Recent Posts

See All

by Lydia Rommel Contributor I am grateful to be at Oberlin. But sometimes I can’t help but think of a man named Charles Ponzi, and how gleefully he would have grinned at the blind mouse students of th

by Teagan Hughes Editor-in-Chief To paraphrase Chris Tebbetts’ Me, Myself, and Him—a young adult novel I remember nothing else about—2019 was the year I became from Ohio, rather than simply being in O

bottom of page