Anheuser-Busch placed two marketing executives on leave following backlash over Bud Light's collaboration with a transgender activist, the latest attempt by the company at damage control amid a conservative boycott of the brand.
Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light's marketing vice president, has reportedly been placed on involuntary leave. Anheuser-Busch also placed her boss, Daniel Blake, who oversees marketing for the company's larger brands, on a leave of absence, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Given the circumstances, Alissa has decided to take a leave of absence which we support," an Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman told the Journal. "Daniel has also decided to take a leave of absence."
Anheuser-Busch's sidelining of the executives comes as the company has faced a conservative boycott this month for Bud Light's collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The backlash started April 1, when Mulvaney shared images and videos revealing the partnership, one of them showing a special Bud Light can featuring the influencer's face. One video showed Mulvaney drinking a Bud Light beer in a bathtub.
Soon after the boycott began, Heinerscheid faced scrutiny for comments she made days before the collaboration with Mulvaney was made public about her efforts to reinvent the Bud Light brand. The executive said in a March 30 interview that she was trying to make the "fratty" brand more "inclusive" to appeal to "younger drinkers."
Anheuser-Busch's shakeup follows attempts this month to mend its reputation with conservatives. Last week, the company's brand Budweiser released a patriotic advertisement depicting the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horse galloping past American landmarks. Anheuser-Busch also hired consultants with connections in the conservative world to advise further moves.
The company's CEO Brendan Whitworth attempted earlier this month to defuse the backlash in a statement, saying, "We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people."
Published under: Bud Light