Caitlyn Jenner expressed her contentment with reports that Bud Light’s marketing vice president has taken a “leave of absence” after the beer brand’s ad campaign involving transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney sparked backlash.
“We called for her firing and she’s gone! Go Woke Go Broke!” Jenner, a media personality and former Olympic gold-medal-winning decathlete who transitioned to a woman in 2015, wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s marketing vice president, took a “leave of absence” and will be replaced by Budweiser Global Marketing Vice President Todd Allen, Ad Age reported on Friday. Heinerscheid was behind the Bud Light’s ad campaign with Mulvaney, which outraged conservatives and MAGA supporters.
Bud Light, a prominent beer brand whose parent company is Anheuser-Busch, has been shunned by conservatives after Mulvaney shared a sponsored video on her Instagram account announcing that Bud Light had sent her a customized beer can with her face on it. The beer can was sent to Mulvaney in celebration of her 1 year anniversary since her transition, but the company’s support of Mulvaney received backlash from some conservatives who took the post personally and boycotted the product in response.
The row over transgender brand ambassadors is symbolic of a wider debate about the inclusion of transgender women in female issues and spaces. Some say transgender women should be treated the same as other women, while others say they are different and that hard-won women’s rights must be protected.
An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson previously told Newsweek that the commemorative can “was a gift to celebrate a personal milestone and is not for sale to the general public.”
On Saturday, Jenner criticized Mulvaney during an interview with the New York Post and dismissed any possibility of meeting the influencer.
“I try to be, for the LGBT community, the adult in the room. She is not. She is bouncing around all over the place. I have nothing in common with her,” Jenner told the newspaper. “The fringe is the worst thing that can happen to the trans community and the media only wants to report on that because of the sensationalization of it and honestly that’s got to stop.”
When asked about management changes, an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told Newsweek that the company is prioritizing the safety and welfare of its employees and partners.
“We have made some adjustments to streamline the structure of our marketing function to reduce layers so that our most senior marketers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brands activities,” the spokesperson said. “These steps will help us maintain focus on the things we do best: brewing great beer for all consumers, while always making a positive impact in our communities and on our country.”
Mulvaney’s sponsored video sparked outrage among several celebrities as well, including musician Kid Rock and supporters of Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake who refused to drink the beer at one of her rallies. The matter also led to verbal altercations between customers in one Kentucky bar.
However, transgender people, Democrats, and LGBTQ+ rights advocates showed their support, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who said, “When a transgender American posts a video about a brand of beer they enjoy and it leads to bomb threats, it’s clear that the level of violence and vitriol against transgender Americans has to stop.”
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told Newsweek in an email on Saturday that LGBTQ+ inclusion is good for business because it reaches the growing number of consumers who want to see the LGBTQ+ community in advertisements.
“When brands authentically portray LGBTQ people it reflects the world around us and improves the brand’s reputation among all consumers, especially younger consumers. Including our community in marketing is nothing new, but what is new is the extreme right-wing politicization of a company’s creative and business decisions,” Ellis said.
She continued: “Companies will not end the standard business practice of including diverse people in ads and marketing because a small number of loud, fringe anti-LGBTQ activists make noise on social media.”
Newsweek reached out to Jenner through her website for comment.