The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) informed the Bud Light maker that it suspended the company’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index score — a tool that measures corporate policies, practices and benefits related to the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees — on May 9, 2023, according to a letter shared with The Associated Press on Friday, May 19.
The suspension of Anheuser-Busch’s CEI score means that the company “no longer has the right to use the ‘Best Places to Work’ distinction,” HRC’s letter says. Prior to the suspension, Anheuser-Busch had a CEI score of 100, the group’s top rating.
Cascade of criticism
On April 1, as part of a March promotional contest for the beer brand, Mulvaney posted a Instagram video of herself cracking open a Bud Light.
A cascade of criticism and hate surrounding the video soon erupted, notably among conservative figures — with Kid Rock posting a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light and others calling for a boycott of the brand. In the following weeks, the beer brand’s sales also fell slightly and two marketing executives at Anheuser-Busch took a leave of absence.
In an April 14 statement, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said that the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
In an April 26 letter, also seen by the AP, HRC called on Anheuser-Busch to issue a public statement expressing support for Mulvaney as well as transgender customers, shareholders and employees. The group also asked the company to hold a “meaningful conversation” with LGBTQ+ employees about their concerns and recommended actions for leadership and conduct a workplace transgender inclusion training for executives.
HRC said it received no response from Anheuser-Busch, the advocacy group said, prompting the May 9 letter informing the company of its CEI score suspension. To date, Bloem said Friday, HRC has still not heard from the company — but the organization’s goal is to work with the company and “discuss strategies to show up and reaffirm that support for the LGBTQ+ community.”
Mulvaney took a few weeks before commenting publicly on the backlash — but posted a video to her Instagram page at the end of April thanking supporters, but did not mention Bud Light by name in the post.
USA Today first reported the Anheuser-Busch’s CEI score suspension on Thursday, May 18. (AP)