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Former NBA star Charles Barkley defended the transgender community and beer brand Bud Light over the weekend in light of the recent controversy in which the company has found itself.
Bud Light has faced months of boycotts and dramatically reduced sales following its decision to partner with a controversial transgender influencer in a paid marketing engagement. The company lost tens of billions of dollars in market value after the partnership was revealed on social media, dominating the news cycle for weeks.
Barkley made the remarks during Nevada’s American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
“I want y’all to drink this f***ing beer,” he said. “I want y’all to drink this f***ing beer. I got three cases of Bud Light.”
“Hey, and I want to say this — if you’re gay, bless you,” he continued. “If you’re transgender, bless you. And, if you have a problem with that, f*** you!”
Charles Barkley: “If you’re gay, bless you if you’re trans, bless you. If you have a problem with that – F*CK YOU!” pic.twitter.com/eQID66Q2eS
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) July 14, 2023
TMZ reported that Barkley made similar remarks at the same event last year, minus the support for Bud Light.
“If you’re gay and transgender, I love you,” he declared. “Hey, and if anybody gives you s***, you tell them Charles said, ‘F*** you!'”
one time for charles barkley 😤😤pic.twitter.com/EoNSBVPboG
— mike taddow 🆓 (@MikeTaddow) July 15, 2022
Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, responded last month to the transgender influencer it partnered with after he claimed that the company did not defend him from the online backlash he faced.
“As we’ve said, we remain committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said. “The privacy and safety of our employees and our partners is always our top priority. As we move forward, we will focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter to our consumers.”