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What The Bud Light Debacle Illuminates About Woke Ideology In Corporate America


Could the worm be turning on corporate America’s love affair with progressive woke ideology – at least among the people in charge?

According to inside sources, as reported by The Daily Wire and others, top level executives at Anheuser-Busch allegedly weren’t aware that one of the planet’s most controversial trans influencers had been hired as a face of their Bud Light brand. “No one at a senior level was aware this was happening,” a source close to the matter claimed. While, to borrow a phrase from the Hunter Biden laptop debacle, this has “all the classic earmarks” of a crisis management move by the company’s leadership, the fact that Bud-connected sources are eager to tell this to the press is significant. And regardless of who knew what when – and who exactly printed Dylan Mulvaney’s face on a Bud Light can – there is an important lesson in all this about how wokeness works.

For those who haven’t been tracking this saga, Mulvaney, who charted his “first year as a girl” on social media to great acclaim from progressives, including those at the White House, appeared last month in an absolutely bizarre March Madness-themed video promoting Bud Light. He pops up in a bathtub, wearing pearls, adopting his usual dumb, ditzy girl persona, this time complete with reference to “that sports thing,” to celebrate the low calorie brew. It was his classic performance which conservative and feminist critics have called “woman-face.”

As the video went viral many social media users, and even news outlets, struggled to ascertain if it was real, or some kind of parody or deep fake. It did not appear on any of Bud Light’s social media feeds. It eventually became clear that the spot was real, was sanctioned by Bud Light, and that Mulvaney was paid. The backlash was so swift, so severe, that in a week Anheuser-Busch had lost $6 billion in stock value. Ouch. So how on earth did this happen?

First, we have to understand a bit about how influencer marketing works. Bud Light uses hundreds of influencers to promote or appear with their brand, most are more or less innocuous. The company isn’t just using the image or personality of the influencer, but as the title suggests, his ability to reach audiences through his own platforms. It’s not surprising if top brass doesn’t know about every guy with a TikTok sneaker review show who gets paid to drink a Bud Light on his feed. It’s no excuse, of course – execs should have tight controls over their marketing directors, who themselves should be combing through every single personality to protect the brand and, ultimately, their own jobs.

One might imagine that the “lower-level people” in the marketing department, who allegedly chose Mulvaney, at least according to these sources, should have known that it would be controversial and gone up the ladder for approval. But this is exactly where the insidious nature of wokeness comes into play. The reason woke members of the marketing team would not think it was controversial is that under progressive ideology to think that is literally bigotry.

After all, Mulvaney had a sit down with the president of the United States, and Vice President Kamala Harris sent him best wishes on his first year as a girl. This is a person with White House approval. Furthermore, Mulvaney has endorsed dozens of brands in his dizzying ascent to the top of fake womanhood. There is no reason to think Mulvaney would raise any red flags for young mid-level marketing folks. Much the opposite.

Now if these lower and mid-level employees do have the wherewithal to suspect that knighting an adult male who cosplays as an adolescent girl to be a bearer of the Bud Light banner might be problematic for the leadership, well then that’s another equally poisonous aspect of wokeness: force “progress” on the unwilling for their own supposed “good.”  

But, of course, blaming this on lower and mid-level staffers is ultimately a cop-out for the company. We have learned that companies such as Bud Light have an extra incentive to hire exemplars of progressive propaganda. They have a Corporate Equality Index score to protect. This score, tabulated by the far-Left and farcically named Human Rights Campaign rates firms on their handling of third rail social issues. Fifteen of the 20 top Fortune 500 companies have a perfect score of 100.

So it really isn’t surprising at all that Bud Light tapped Mulvaney as a brand ambassador, it’s only surprising that it didn’t happen sooner. And if it wasn’t for the backlash, and the particularly bad match between a frat beer and Mulvaney, the top executives might never have known this had even happened. In the ultimate irony, the pro-“inclusivity” marketing VP who made the Mulvaney call and criticized Bud Light for being too “fratty” — about 10 minutes later some very fratty photos of her from college surfaced. Most likely the same college that told her men can become women in the first place.

The key thing to understand in all of this is that wokeness is often not a top down enterprise, it is very much grown from the bottom up. While the CEOs, like those at Anheuser-Busch, who sign off on DEI departments and elevating CEI scores are responsible in the end, they’re generally not driving this movement. The lower and mid-level employees hoodwinking them are. From our colleges to our corporate HR departments, far-Left shibboleths have become a corporate Lingua Franca, always ready to express support for the current thing. 

Maybe $6 billion in losses is enough to wake up, not just corporate leadership at Anheuser-Busch, which is reportedly saying it will engage in more “robust” scrutiny of brand ambassadors now, but leaders at all of our companies. Wokeness has proved time and again that it is just as bad for business as it is for the country. Hopefully, the people in charge will start finally taking note of this.

David Marcus is a West Virginia based columnist and author of “Charade: The Covid Lies That Crushed A Nation”

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those if The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  What The Bud Light Debacle Illuminates About Woke Ideology In Corporate America