Dylan Mulvaney talks Bud Light backlash

Trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney will be crowned the 2023 Queen of White Party Palm Springs on Saturday.

Mulvaney, 26, who received the TikTok Trailblazer award last year, has not only shattered barriers, but also inspired a younger generation to embrace and celebrate diversity, White Party Palm Springs organizers said.

“I am over the moon honored to be crowned the queen of White Party 2023,” Dylan Mulvaney said in a statement. “The entire weekend is a space that can be enjoyed by all. I’m ready to dance the night away with my LGBTQ+ fam.”

Mulvaney faced enormous transphobic backlash last month after she partnered with Bud Light to promote the company’s March Madness contest on TikTok.

Mulvaney, who has more than 10 million followers on TikTok, posted a video with her dressed as Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,”drinking a Bud Light and holding a custom beer can with her face on it.

Conservatives went bonkers and criticized the company.

Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light White Party Palm Springs

“A lot has been said about me,” Dylan Mulvaney said in a recent video about the Bud Light anti-trans backlash. “Some of which is so far from my truth that I was, like, hearing my name and I didn’t even know who they were talking about.”

Mulvaney took a break from social media, but recently returned to TikTok after being offline for a few weeks. 

“A lot has been said about me,” she said in a recent video. “Some of which is so far from my truth that I was, like, hearing my name and I didn’t even know who they were talking about.”

Mulvaney allowed herself time to process, sit with her emotions, and not share anything before she was ready, she said.

Mulvaney described her upbringing, where she was considered “too feminine” or “over the top” and now, at 26, she’s being treated the same way by adults.

“What I’m struggling with most is that I grew up in a conservative family, and I’m extremely privileged because they still love me very much,” Mulvaney said. “I’ve always tried to love everyone, even the people that make it really, really hard.”

Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, issued a statement after the conservative uproar, but it prompted an additional response from Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, who released a vague statement calling for unity.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” Whitworth said in an April 14 statement titled “Our Responsibility to America.”

He said the company has “a proud history supporting our communities, military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere” and that he would “continue to work tirelessly to bring great beers to consumers across our nation.”

The words said nothing much, and managed to anger those who thought Bud Light owed them an apology, and trans-rights advocates who wanted a stronger defense of the at-risk community. Transgender people are more than four times as likely to be victims of violent crime than cisgender people, according to a study from the UCLA School of Law.

“Whitworth’s statement was indefensible,” wrote The Advocate’s senior editor John Casey in an article calling for a Bud Light boycott. “It exacerbates the disgust for trans people that is seething in Republican-led state legislatures all across the country.”

Over 400 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures this year through April 3, according to American Civil Liberties Union, including ones restricting access to gender-affirming care for trans youth. 

Also, Anheuser-Busch made changes to its marketing team in the wake of the backlash.

Two marketing vice presidents, Alissa Heinerscheid of Bud Light and Daniel Blake of Anheuser-Busch, have taken leaves of absences. Heinerscheid — who discussed efforts to update the brand in a podcast episode that aired prior to Mulvaney’s April 1 post — has been heavily targeted in the conservative press.

The changes are designed “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,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in a statement.

As for Mulvaney, in that TikTok video, she said she’s looking forward to getting back to making people laugh.

She also doesn’t understand why people felt the need to dehumanize and be cruel to those who are different.

“Dehumanization has never fixed anything in history, ever,” Mulvaney said.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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