Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, announced it will lay off 350 employees, many of them in corporate positions, as it seeks to recover from the fallout over a campaign involving a trans influencer.
In a statement, the company said the layoffs would affect less than 2% of its approximately 18,000 employees nationwide.
“Today we took the very difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a number of positions across our corporate organization,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said Wednesday. “While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success.”
The layoffs will not include front-line staff members such as “brewery and warehouse staff, drivers, and field sales, among others,” the company said. The move was designed to “simplify and reduce layers within its organization,” it said.
Bud Light recently lost its title as the No. 1 beer in the U.S. to Modelo Especial after a campaign involving Dylan Mulvaney during the NCAA basketball tournament — and subsequent remarks by Bud Light’s brand ambassador — sparked a nationwide backlash.
Conservative media outlets and social media accounts were filled this spring with memes of users disposing of Bud Light in various ways. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his administration was considering legal action against Anheuser-Busch and its parent company, AB InBev, in response to the financial impact of the campaign.
AB InBev shares have declined about 11% since April.
Bud Light sales in the last week of June were down nearly 28% year on year, according to Nielsen IQ data cited by Bump Williams Consulting.
Whitworth, AB’s CEO, said last month that the company would continue to support the LGBTQ community. But Mulvaney said last month that AB never reached out to her after the backlash.
“For a company to hire a trans person and then not publicly stand by them is worse, in my opinion, than not hiring a trans person at all,” she said in a TikTok video.