Conservative pundits splintered this week on whether to continue supporting a boycott against Bud Light after Kid Rock, an early critic of the beer company for its brief partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, backed off, stating he doesn’t want to “drown them because they made a mistake.”
Kid Rock—who went viral for shooting cans of Bud Light in April after it partnered with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney—told Tucker Carlson he thinks the beer company “got the message” and should have a chance to make a comeback.
In response, Carlson said it’s “better to improve than destroy” Bud Light, and in a separate interview with Megyn Kelly this week, Carlson suggested the boycott was a “win” because Bud Light did not collaborate with Mulvaney or other transgender influencers following the backlash.
Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Dana White defended the UFC’s new multimillion dollar partnership with Bud Light in an interview with Carlson this week, stating: “If you consider yourself a patriot, you should be drinking gallons of Bud Light. Believe me when I tell you. Gallons!”
UFC fighter Sean Strickland also praised the Bud Light deal, stating he would “fix” the beer brand in an Instagram video in which he voiced his opposition to transgender rights.
Conservative YouTube commentator Tim Pool said he agrees with Kid Rock and considered the boycott a “PR victory,” arguing it was a success because Bud Light’s UFC partnership will finance a business with outspoken conservatives like White and Strickland.Bud Light volumes are down 29% year-over-year as of the week ending Dec. 2, according to Bernstein analyst Nadine Sarwat, citing NielsenIQ data.
Some conservative pundits refused to end the boycott, including Kelly, who told Carlson she wants an apology from the beer brand for partnering with Mulvaney and the “vicious trans lobby.” In a statement released weeks after the boycott began, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” which some conservatives criticized for falling short of an apology. “Why would you give them your business? Bc one musician folded? HARD NO,” Kelly posted on X. She also criticized Bud Light for “misreading” its customer base, citing its vice president Alissa Heinerscheid, who drew criticism in April for stating she wanted to shift Bud Light from its “fratty” image to be more inclusive. Heinerscheid no longer works at Bud Light as of October, according to her LinkedIn. Right-wing pundit Matt Walsh forcefully defended the boycott, posting on X Tuesday that if conservatives “back away from this victory now it will show that we’ve learned nothing and don’t want to win.” He said in a follow-up post that Bud Light tried to “push trans ideology and is now paying the price,” adding there is “no legitimate reason to back away or let off the gas.” Conservative radio host and former National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch argued Bud Light should apologize to women for its partnership with Mulvaney. “Reconciliation requires acknowledgment, otherwise, hell no,” Loesch posted on X Tuesday, advocating for the boycott. Conservative commentator Liz Wheeler argued White is only praising Bud Light because of its multimillion dollar deal with UFC. “Until Bud Light apologizes, I boycott,” Wheeler posted on X.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think the punishment that [Bud Light has] been getting at this point fits the crime. I would like to see people get us back on board and become bigger because that’s the America that I want to live in,” Kid Rock told Carlson.
Kid Rock was spotted drinking Bud Light at a concert in Nashville in August, months before he said he was done with the boycott. His Nashville bar also reportedly still sold Bud Light over the summer, unlike country musician John Rich, who pulled Bud Light from his own bar amid the Mulvaney backlash.
Joe Rogan posted a picture of at least 30 cans of Bud Light in his podcast studio on Wednesday, though it’s unclear whether the post is related to recent statements by Kid Rock and other conservatives about the boycott. Rogan has previously called the boycott “silly” and has drank the beer while hosting his show, including in an August episode with country star Zach Bryan, who previously defended Mulvaney amid the boycott. “We’re drinking Bud Lights, ladies and gentlemen. Sorry. There’s nothing wrong with it,” Rogan said in the episode.
Kid Rock was one of the first high-profile critics of Bud Light after Mulvaney posted an Instagram video stating Bud Light sent her a can with her face on it to celebrate her one-year anniversary of coming out as transgender. Two days later, Kid Rock posted a video on X shooting cases of Bud Light and yelling expletives about the beer brand and Anheuser-Busch. The backlash over Mulvaney’s partnership with Bud Light grew into a full-fledged boycott supported by many conservative pundits and politicians. The Bud Light boycott was likely the largest of many similar boycotts against companies deemed “woke” this year for marketing campaigns that took pro-LGBTQ or feminist stances. The beer brand suffered from declining sales and was overtaken as the United States’ best-selling beer by Modelo in May. In June, Mulvaney accused Bud Light of abandoning her amid the “bullying and transphobia” that left her “scared to leave my house,” stating the company never reached out to her.