Berlingske: The real problem is how Bud Light turned their back on Dylan Mulvaney

Mulvaney Bud Light

It’s a take, that’s for sure.

The headline and lede frame the story in an unusual way.

Headline: Beer giant wanted to be progressive in its campaign. Then they abandoned the main character when everything went wrong.

Lede: A popular beer brand wanted to reach a more “woke” target group. But it released a storm of hatred and persecution. It casts the people behind the beer in a pitiful light.

This is a news article, not an opinion piece. It’s under the byline of Nina Schaumann, a journalist on Berlingse’s foreign coverage team. I’m not familiar with her, but a scan of her recent work doesn’t suggest she’s as markedly anti-conservative as some of her colleagues.

Even after reading this article, which I’ll walk you through in a minute, her aversion to American conservatives isn’t of the the frothy, vicious, or condescending types so often displayed by Berlingske’s premiere American correspondents. It’s just the Danish media default: an assumption that American conservatives and Republicans are not just wrong about everything but mean-spirited and narrow-minded to boot. The progressive orthodoxy reigning on the American left, and only on the American left, is presumed to be representative of America as a whole. That’s the default Danish media outlook. It’s insidious and it does enormous damage to Danes’ understanding of America, but that’s just the way it is.

I’m not going to fisk the whole article: instead I want to focus on the particular ways in which Schaumann curates particular facts and opinions to make the point that the real story of Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney misadventure is the dreadful way the brewers treated Mulvaney.

So here’s a quick recap of the full story—not as quick as I’d have liked, but I want to be thorough:

Bud Light sent transactivist influencer Dylan Mulvaney a case of beer back in April. She made a video of herself dressed as Audrey Hepburn’s character (Holly Golightly) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in which she held one of the cans in her hand. That made people angry because Mulvaney is transgender.

This put Anheuser-Busch (AB) in “the eye of the anti-trans storm.” Conservative celebs called for boycotts of the beer, sales tanked, and two managers were put on leave. It’s been a big story in America, but no one ever reported on how Dylan Mulvaney was doing. Until now. Mulvaney is now talking about “the horrible things she has experienced.”

AB is a giant company with a massive marketing budget. Collaboration with social media influencers is just a tiny sliver of that. Dylan Mulvaney has nearly 11 million followers on TikTok. “She has become known for sharing her experiences transitioning to womanhood” over the past year. She even got invited to the White House where she got to meet Joe Biden.

The marketing veep at AB, Alissa Heinerscheid, was on record as having said that Bud Light had “been in decline for a really long time” and that “if we don’t attract young people to drink the brand,” it would have no future.

But this campaign backfired. People “on the right” believe Bud Light was “trying to get rid of their white male consumer group. They felt betrayed.”

We’re told about Kid Rock’s stupid stunt (shooting cans of Bud Light), and about some things Ben Shapiro said, and about an open letter signed by Republican Senators Cruz and Blackburn. We’re told that Bud Light sales dropped by 28 percent from a year ago: that what was once the best-selling beer in the United States is now just the 14th most popular. We’re shown a tweet that congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene sent out extolling Coors over Bud Light, “even though” Coors has been a sponsor of Denver’s Pride events for twenty years.

We get some quotes from CEO Brendan Whitworth that don’t add up to much. (“Notably, he doesn’t mention Dylan Mulvaney or transgender people as a group.”)

Finally we’re told that the public hasn’t heard much about Dylan Mulvaney’s side of the story because “she hasn’t addressed the collaboration or the reactions” since the storm broke—but in June she put out “an emotional video” in which criticism of AB and Bud Light featured prominently. Then she put out another video from Macchu Picchu, expressing sadness and disappointment and fear.

We’re then told that “companies trying to appeal to the LGBT community are nothing new.” We get examples. Then we’re told (ominously) that “something has changed in ‘the land of opportunity’.”

Criticism of collaborations with LGBT people comes just as a backlash comes from the right wing. It is aimed at children, drag shows, education, and the healthcare system. The rhetoric is showing up with Republican lawmakers and in the media.


In a new Gallup poll in the United States, just 41 percent of Republican voters say that it is morally acceptable to be gay. This is a drop of 15 percentage points in a single year.

Gallup has conducted the measurements in question for 20 years and has never experienced a similar shift.

Finally, Schaumann wraps things up with a very thinly veiled cri-de-couer against capitalism itself:

Transgender existence is currently at the center of the American culture war.

While corporate decisions sometimes backfire, it’s probably important to point out that, by and large, they have no values.

Or rather, they only have one: money.

So, like I said at the top, it’s certainly a take.

A horribly skewed one, full of misrepresentations and distorted by critical omissions of context, but a take all the same—and, as usual, it leaves Danes less informed about America than they were before they had read it.

Most glaringly, Schaumann neglects to inform her readers that Mulvaney did not achieve fame by “transitioning” to womanhood, but to girlhood.

Don’t take my word for it—Mulvaney himself chronicled every single day of his “transition to girlhood” on TikTok, where he pranced and minced before the camera reveling in a cartoonish and even parodic representation of pre-pubescent girlhood.

Also: he’s a man. Not a girl, not a woman, but a man. An adult gay male parading around in a parodic interpretation of femininity.

As feminist activist Anna Slatz put it back in October of 2022:

Everything Mulvaney does is a parody of womanhood because he has no ability to understand what it is to actually be a woman. . . Here’s the thing: Dylan Mulvaney is a gay man whose understanding of womanhood appears to be based purely around sexual receptivity. Women are fucked and therefore in his mind, “Oh, that means I’m a woman … Women are on the receiving end of dick, and I want to be on the receiving end of dick… therefore I am a woman.” …

This is what his understanding of [womanhood] is. This is how he’s made his determination of his identity. So even more than his nail polish and his skirts and his hair, and his lipstick and all of these other little accoutrements he likes to wear to [help] lay claim to woman … he identifies with womanhood because of his sexual position. That to me is the most insulting thing of all.

That’s what so many people find so offensive about Dylan Mulvaney. It isn’t, as Schaumann asserts, that “he’s transgender,” but that he’s perpetuating a version of womanhood that’s a sexualized version of blackface. (In the Bud Light video that kicked this all off, for example, he begins by pretending to have thought March Madness—one of the biggest sports events in American culture—was just about March being a crazy month. Because, you know, there’s just so much women don’t understand about sports!)

Speaking of the video, however, note another critical omission: Schaumann tells her readers only that Mulvaney was holding a can of beer in his hand. She completely omits the highly salient point that it was a “collector’s edition” can with an image of his own (fabulously feminine!) face on it. Reaction to the video wasn’t so strong because Mulvaney was a transwoman with a can of beer, but because AB had obviously gone to the trouble and expense of honoring him with a custom beer can.

Schaumann also operates under the assumption that the reaction to the video, to Mulvaney, and to the “trans movement” itself represents hostility to transgender men and women. That’s at least a misreading of things, and more likely either a deliberate misrepresentation or a mere recitation of activist talking points.

There are surely bigots out there who despise transvestites, but the larger reaction is directed at the larger cultural forces working so feverishly to normalize every sort of sexual deviance and fetish, even among children.

She seems to understand that as general principle even as she gets the specifics all wrong: she claims without evidence that there’ve been “a number of voices on the right” who believed that Bud Light was “trying to get rid of their white male consumer group” (my emphasis).

Who said that? Where? When? When did race creep into this thing?

Along the same lines:

Criticism of collaborations with LGBT people comes just as a backlash comes from the right wing. It is aimed at children, drag shows, education and the healthcare system. The rhetoric is showing up with Republican lawmakers and in the media.

The “backlash” of “the right wing” is not aimed at children, drag shows, education, and the healthcare system. That’s a ridiculous formulation, skimming keywords out of the debate without offering any explanation of what they’re doing in there.

The very real backlash, coming from a very broad swathe of the American population, is against the promotion of highly sexualized material to prepubescent children in public schools, the promotion of highly sexualized drag shows to children, and public health officials pretending that transmen are men and transwoman are women even with respect to medical issues. (At least I think that’s what Schaumann is referencing with respect to her inclusion of “healthcare,” but without more context it’s impossible to know what she’s talking about. It may also have to do with the battle over the mutation and chemical castration of children being referred to as “gender affirming care.”)

Schaumann also takes a whack at the pinch-nosed moral scolds of the Republican party in her observation about the Gallup poll showing only 41% support from the “moral acceptability” of homosexuality, down from 56% a year previously.

The 15% drop is obviously significant, but support also dropped among Democrats, from 85% last year to 79% in 2023. It’s not as big a drop, but it’s just as anomalous and suggests there’s more going on in America than Republicans turning against homosexuality. Which it’s not even clear they’re doing: support for gay marriage is the highest it’s ever been, at 71% nationally. That’s the same exact level of support Gallup found a year ago. Year-on-year, in fact, the last time support for gay marriage went down nationally was when it dropped from 53% in May 2011 down to 48% in December of that year. And Gallup appears to have stopped measuring support for gay rights in general back in 2019, when it came in at 93% nationally.

So what exactly is going on?

In 2021, Gallup found that 46% of Americans considered “changing one’s gender” morally acceptable, while 51% of Americans found it morally wrong.

In 2023, only 43% found it acceptable and 55% morally wrong. So transgenderism went from -5% to -12% in just two years. Over the same period, support for athletes only being allowed to compete against people of the same gender went from +28% to +43%.

There’s a highly plausible case to be made, backed up with survey data like this and anecdotal data from just looking around and following the cultural debate in America, that American acceptance of homosexuality is increasing even as Americans are beginning to turn away from what they perceive as the overreach or excesses of the sexual and gender activists.

The case is further strengthened by the evidence on display this June—this Pride month—when a lot of hoary old gay activists came out against the excesses of contemporary Pride celebrations. For example, here and here and here.

You can be entirely tolerant of homosexuality and transgenderism and transvestism and still find the pervasive sexualization of everything being pushed at us from all sides to be anywhere on the scale from off-putting to repugnant.

You can even disapprove of homosexuality morally while believing in gay rights: if you review the Gallup findings carefully, in fact, you’ll see that’s not uncommon.

Getting back to the lede of the article, while it’s grotesquely unfair to say the Mulvaney Bud Light affair unleashed a storm of “hatred” and “persecution,” it is not unfair to say that it cast “the people behind the beer in a pitiful light.”

The pity is how badly they misread the American public. Americans are among the most tolerant and inclusive people on the face of the earth. And that’s exactly why they’re pushing back against the constant hectoring from their governments, corporations, universities, celebrities, athletes, and others—especially when that hectoring veers toward the compulsive indoctrination of their children.

Most Americans just want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit—which is both their birthright and the promise held out to them in writing by their Constitution. They want the same for their countrymen: in a twist on the old quote about free speech, this belief might be paraphrased as “I may not agree with or approve of how you choose to live your life, but I’ll fight to defend your right to live it that way.”

With one important corollary:

“If you tell me how to live my life, or start telling my children how to live theirs, then all bets are off.”

If Dylan Mulvaney wants to prance around pretending to be a little girl, that’s fine. No skin off my ass, or anyone’s.

If our governments and corporations are going to insist we celebrate his weird and perverted fetishes, that’s something else entirely. And Americans are starting to have had enough.

But sure, Berlingske: the real problem is how badly Bud Light treated Dylan Mulvaney.

It’s a goddam tragedy.