Former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks said the company's current CEO has failed to fix the Bud Light crisis and must quit now for the sake of Americans' 401(k)s.
"It's clear to me that it's time for the shareholders and board of Anheuser-Busch to ask Brendan Whitworth to step down," Frericks said in a Daily Mail column hours after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney said she felt abandoned by Bud Light after facing "more bullying and transphobia than I could have ever imagined" over her partnership with the beer giant.
"Now, to be clear: I worked with Whitworth for many years at Anheuser-Busch. ... So I write this with a heavy heart, not out of spite but because it's important for Americans to understand how and why corporate leaders can bungle the management of once-iconic American brands so badly, sacrificing countless jobs and invested assets in the process.
"More importantly, I write because those leaders must be seen to take responsibility when things go so badly wrong," he added.
In a video posted Thursday to Instagram and TikTok, Mulvaney said she "was waiting for the brand to reach out to me. But they never did." She said she should have spoken out sooner but was afraid and hoped things would get better — but they didn't.
"For months now, I've been scared to leave my house," Mulvaney said. "I have been ridiculed in public. I've been followed, and I have felt a loneliness that I wouldn't wish on anyone."
A deluge of criticism and hate erupted soon after Mulvaney cracked open a Bud Light in an Instagram video on April 1 as part of a promotional contest for the beer brand. She showed off a can emblazoned with her face that Bud Light sent to her — one of many corporate freebies she gets and shares with her millions of followers.
Anheuser-Busch didn't directly respond to Mulvaney in a statement the company released Friday. But it said it remains "committed to the programs and partnerships we have forged over decades with organizations across a number of communities, including those in the LGBTQ+ community."
Frericks called that response a cop-out and said changes need to be made to protect investments of hardworking Americans.
"The real shareholders are the firefighters, police officers, and doctors, whose life savings — held in pensions and 401(k)s — are managed by these monster firms," he said.
"These are ordinary Americans — who don't care for virtue signaling and money-wasting exercises."
He also said Whitworth should have responded differently when asked whether he would send Mulvaney a can again.
"He should have said: 'Of course, it was a mistake. No, we wouldn't send the can again!' But he didn't. Why?
"Because he's been paralyzed by corporate America's forced adoption of 'stakeholder' capitalism, which preaches to companies about why they must serve activists, politicians, nongovernmental organizations, and all manner of interests — anyone really apart from their shareholders and customers!"
In the four weeks ending June 17, Bud Light's U.S. retail sales had slumped 26% compared with the same period a year ago, according to Bump Williams Consulting, which follows the industry. Sales of Modelo Especial, which recently supplanted Bud Light as the country's best-selling beer in retail dollar sales, rose 9% in the same period. Modelo's market share was 8.4%, while Bud Light's was 7.1%.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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