A Bud Light executive facing blowback over a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney is taking a leave of absence.
Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing at Bud Light, will be replaced by Budweiser global marketing VP Todd Allen, parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev told Ad Age.
The move reportedly is part of a shakeup in which “senior marketers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brand’s activities,” a spokesperson said.
It is the latest development stemming from a controversy that started several weeks ago in which Mulvaney, a man who says he is a woman, was involved in a Bud Light marketing campaign. The company had sent Mulvaney a custom can with his face on it, as seen in Instagram posts marking “day 365 of womanhood.”
In the ensuing fallout, Heinerscheid took flak upon the emergence of an interview in which she said the beer brand needed to update its “out of touch” and “fratty” image. The Daily Caller then published photos that show Heinerscheid drinking beer in a fratty setting.
The statement reported by Ad Age on Friday did not mention Mulvaney nor give an apology to offended customers. However, it did say the company is taking steps that “will help us maintain focus on the things we do best: brewing great beer for all consumers, while always making a positive impact in our communities and on our country.”
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) April 14, 2023
Among those who spoke out against Bud Light over the Mulvaney partnership included country music stars Travis Tritt and John Rich. Kid Rock posted a video showing him shooting cases of the beer. “F*** Bud Light,” the rock star said at the end. “And f*** Anheuser-Busch. Have a terrific day.”
Facing calls for a boycott, Anheuser-Busch has sought to placate its critics by releasing a statement from CEO Brendan Whitworth, which also did not contain an apology, nor did it mention Mulvaney, as well as putting out a pro-America advertisement that shows one of Budweiser’s well-known Clydesdale horses galloping around the United States.
Anheuser-Busch facilities have faced threats amid the backlash, the company told CNN. The White House, which invited Mulvaney to visit last year, condemned the “violence and vitriol” against transgender Americans.
Reporter: “Dylan Mulvaney has been the target of a barrage of attacks from anti-trans individuals online after she did an ad with Bud Light…”
KJP: “That level of violence and vitriol against transgender Americans has to stop.”pic.twitter.com/YoLrYEDGI5
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) April 21, 2023
In the latest statement, a spokesperson said, “we made it clear that the safety and welfare of our employees and our partners is our top priority.”