Republican Lawmakers Threaten Anheuser-Busch: Sever Ties with Dylan Mulvaney or Face Investigation

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

The Bud Light/Dylan Mulvaney saga seems neverending. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, is still facing the backlash months after it formed a partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

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Bud Light’s sales have plummeted as conservatives launched a successful campaign to boycott the company. Despite its attempts to get back into the good graces of its most loyal customer base, Bud Light is still suffering at the hands of the free market. Indeed, even gay bars are refusing to serve the product after the company appeared to backtrack on its advertising campaign.

However, even though Bud Light has already been suffering the consequences of its wokeness, it appears some are channeling “The Dark Knight Rises” Bane when he told Batman: “Your punishment must be more severe.”

Republican senators seem to be eager to take another bite out of the company. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have opened an investigation into Anheuser-Busch’s relationship with Mulvaney to determine whether it is failing to adhere to the Beer Institute’s policies preventing the marketing of alcohol to minor children.

In the letter, the senators urged Anheuser-Busch to “avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from his social media platforms.”

The document references several examples showing that at least part of Mulvaney’s audience is made up of children. One instance details the influencer “giving away merchandise and cash to teenage girls” at a mall. Another highlights a video in which Mulvaney shopped at Target for Barbie dolls.

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“The Mulvaney/Bud Light campaign is starkly similar to the discredited and now illegal marketing campaigns of cigarette manufacturers that used youth-favored advertising tools such as “Joe Camel” in an attempt to develop early brand loyalty with children who were legally prohibited from smoking cigarettes,” the lawmakers claimed.

But the lawmakers did not stop there. In the letter, they issued a thinly-veiled threat intended to coerce the company into ending its partnership with Mulvaney:

We would urge you, in your capacity at Anheuser-Busch, to avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from his social media platforms.

The senators continued, arguing that “Anheuser-Busch’s clear failure to exercise appropriate due diligence when selecting online influencers for its marketing efforts warrants detailed oversight by Congress.”

Naturally, there are mixed opinions on social media about this development. Leftists are predictably opposed to it because it involves someone they like. Conservatives seem to be torn on the issue, with some supporting the move and others arguing that this is not how the government should be used. I chimed in too:

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There are multiple issues with this story.

For starters, while Mulvaney’s audience includes a percentage of minors, the numbers included in the senators’ letter show that most are over 18. This is already egregious enough because he is marketing transgenderism to teenage children. But this does not prove that Anheuser-Busch is trying to use him to sell beer to underage Americans.

Anheuser-Busch, as a prominent beer company, is well aware of the legal restrictions and guidelines surrounding alcohol marketing. The Beer Institute, an industry self-regulatory body, sets guidelines for beer companies to follow. If Anheuser-Busch had violated these guidelines, it might be appropriate for the senators to raise concerns if the company broke the law. However, without evidence of explicit violations, their threats of an investigation appear premature and based on politics rather than facts.

But even further, this is a blatant attempt to use the government to punish a corporation for making the foolhardy decision to embrace the “woke” left. It is akin to Democrats exploiting mass shootings to file lawsuits punishing gun manufacturers. Republicans have complained to high heaven about Democrats wielding the power of the state against political opponents. But now, they appear to be growing even more amenable to using the same tactics.

What makes this particularly egregious is the fact that using the free market has already worked. The company is scrambling to mitigate the damage done to its reputation and its bottom line because enough people were willing to make a stink about it on the airwaves and interwebs.

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This is how it is supposed to work, at least for people who claim to value liberty and limited government. Leaders should not be in the business of using state force to punish corporations or individuals because they are making statements of which they do not approve. It is the type of tyranny that many of us say we oppose. The more we become comfortable with using the government as a cudgel, the further we will be away from having true liberty.

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