A Budweiser factory in Los Angeles was forced to clear out its workers after anti-LGBTQ conservatives sent in a bomb threat by email on Thursday — one of several bomb threats targeting various Anheuser-Busch locations across the U.S. in the last two weeks. After years of fearmongering by Fox and other MAGA "news" outlets that hammer the right-wing mob with anti-gay, anti-trans, and anti-drag rhetoric, creating a handful of beer cans celebrating trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney has triggered conservatives into full-blown madness.
One employee of Anheuser-Busch InBev – which owns Budweiser – said that the company's facilities across the country have been getting bomb threats in the wake of conservative anger over an Instagram video from two weeks ago.
"There was a search that was conducted in the premise of the building but there was nothing identified as a threat," she said, adding that an LAPD bomb squad was dispatched. "We did assist in clearing the perimeter of the building."
Republicans have been tripping over themselves to denounce Bud Light. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last week that the U.S.'s allies will abandon the country because of the Mulvaney video. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) posted a video to social media announcing his "boycott" of Bud Light, only to get made fun of for showing his refrigerator full of other beers sold by Anheuser-Busch.
Conservative musician Kid Rock shot up four cases of Bud Light with a semiautomatic weapon and posted the video to social media. Fox News pundit and failed gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner – who is transgender herself – accused Mulvaney of "trying to erase women" for a Nike partnership Mulvaney announced.
"We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people," Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. "We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer."
In reality, Budweiser is in the business of selling beer, plain and simple, and according to The New York Times, the Mulvaney controversy won't hurt the company in the long run — on the contrary, it might just help.
L.G.B.T.Q. people in the United States have an estimated $1.1 trillion in annual purchasing power, according to a 2019 report by LGBT Capital, a financial services company.
Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization GLAAD, said in an emailed statement that marketing featuring L.G.B.T.Q. people would continue. "Companies will not end the standard business practice of including diverse people in ads and marketing because a small number of loud, fringe anti-L.G.B.T.Q. activists make noise on social media," she said.
Americus Reed, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said companies usually weigh the economic and moral effects of brand partnerships that some may see as political.
As part of that calculus, he said, companies recognize that a partnership could cause them to lose some customers, but bet that it is worth attracting new, and potentially more loyal, customers who value the company for taking a stand.
Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, said in an interview before the boycott that the brand needed to be more inclusive.
"The brand is in decline," Ms. Heinerscheid said on the "Make Yourself at Home" podcast in March. "It's been in decline for a really long time. And if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light."