Two executives who headed up a marketing collaboration between Bud Light and Dylan Mulvaney, a TikTok star who is transgender, were put on leave this weekend.
On Sunday, officials at Anheuser-Busch InBev confirmed that news to the Wall Street Journal.
The two executives put on leave are Daniel Blake, who serves as the vice president for marketing for Budweiser, and Alissa Heinerscheid, who serves as vice president of marketing for Bud Light.
The collaboration in question involved sending commemorative cans of Bud Light to Mulvaney that had her image on it. It was meant to promote a sweepstakes that the company was running.
Yet, in the wake of that marketing campaign going live, the executives faced tons of criticism and even some death threats.
A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch sent an email to the Journal that read:
“Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support. Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence.”
Despite that statement, people who are close to the matter confirmed to the Journal that the decision for the executives to take a leave “wasn’t voluntary” and that they were both forced to do so.
In place of Heinerscheid, Todd Allen will take over the role of Bud Light’s vice president of marketing. He once served as Budweiser’s global vice president.
The controversy began on April 1, when Mulvaney published a sponsored video on Instagram that showed her drinking a can of Bud Light as part of a marketing campaign that was meant to celebrate the end of the March Madness men’s college basketball tournament.
The video shows her celebrating “365 days of girlhood” series that she has on TikTok that has documented her transition. She also calls the commemorative Bud Light cans that she received “possibly the best gift ever.”
Many Bud Light fans responded with outrage, with many calling for an outright boycott of the beer and many of the other products under its brand. Singer Kid Rock was one of the most noteworthy. He filmed an Instagram video in which he was wearing a MAGA hat and used an automatic rifle to shoot cases of Bud Light.
A lot of other celebrities also called for a boycott of the brand.
On April 14, after the uproar reached a peak, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brendan Whitworth, released a statement that expressed regret about the division that the Mulvaney collaboration has caused. In that statement, though, he didn’t refer directly to the promotion.
He wrote in the statement:
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
Bud Light isn’t the only company that’s facing backlash. Maybelline, a cosmetics company, ran a video partnership with Mulvaney last month, and people have also called for boycotts of its company and products as a result.