Bud Light manufacturer Anheuser-Busch has announced plans to lay off hundreds of workers in the United States after a boycott against the company’s association with a transgender influencer sent sales plummeting.
The St Louis, Missouri-based brewer will let go of “less than 2 percent” of its US workforce to “reduce layers” in the organisation, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
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Anheuser-Busch employs more than 19,000 people in the US, according to its website, and 2 percent of that figure would be 380 positions.
“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 in a statement cited by CNN and the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success.”
Anheuser-Busch, which also makes Budweiser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bud Light and Budweiser have seen sales plummet amid a conservative backlash against a promotional campaign involving Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender social media influencer.
Right-wing commenters and celebrities including Kid Rock expressed outrage after Mulvaney, a musical theatre actor-turned-TikTok personality, posted a video in April featuring Bud Light cans with her face on them to celebrate “365 days of girlhood”.
Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth expressed regret over the controversy and two executives involved in the promotion were placed on leave.
LGBTQ advocates in turn accused Anheuser-Busch of caving in to bigotry and bullying.
Bud Light sales fell 28 percent in the week ending June 24, following weeks of slumping business. Anheuser-Busch’s stock price has fallen about 14 percent since the controversy erupted.
Modelo Especial, a Mexican lager, overtook Bud Light as the best-selling beer in the US at the start of June and has remained in the top spot since.