One of the Beer Institute’s Code Compliance Review Board members (CCRB) said Bud Light violated code after the beer industry ad panel issued a ruling Tuesday over the brand’s ad campaign with a transgender influencer.
The majority of CCRB decided Bud Light did not violate the Beer Institute’s marketing code prohibiting marketing to minors. However, Paul Summers said Bud Light did violate the code in his dissenting opinion. Summers is a former state court appeals judge and Tennessee attorney general. He is also the only member of the CCRB who is a lawyer. This is the first time CCRB has issued dissent.
Bud Light has faced heavy criticism and lost its spot as America’s top-selling beer in early June after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney showed off a personalized beer can featuring the influencer’s face. Bud Light’s sponsorship of Mulvaney violated the beer industry’s code prohibiting the marketing of alcohol to underage individuals, according to Summers’ dissent.
“Dylan Mulvaney has a persona wherein the actor looks and acts like a little girl. Mulvaney appeals to little children and often behaves like one,” Summers’ dissent and the CCRB’s decision reads.
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, praised Summers’ opinion in a statement to the Daily Caller.
“This is the first time a review board member — and notably, the board’s only lawyer — has concluded that a brewer violated industry code prohibiting the marketing of alcoholic beverages to underage individuals. I applaud Judge Summers for having the courage to state what is self-evident: Mulvaney’s persona ‘looks and acts like a little girl’ and ‘appeals to little children and often behaves like one.’ It is clear Mulvaney was chosen because he produces content for a younger audience, and therefore, his selection would violate the industry’s self-regulatory code. Judge Summers also rightly noted that Anheuser-Busch failed to provide the ‘reasonable documentation’ I requested about the brewer’s decision to choose Mulvaney, effectively withholding from the board and Congress crucial information about the company’s actions,” Cruz said.
Cruz published a 13-page memo in June with various examples of how Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of Mulvaney was allegedly meant to appeal to minors. Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, who serves as chairman of the Beer Institute, has continuously refused to comply with congressional requests for documents, according to Cruz’s memo.
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“While I am disappointed but unsurprised with the ruling from the other two panelists on the board, I will continue efforts to shine a spotlight on how Anheuser-Busch chose a spokesperson meant to appeal to children. If marketing tobacco to minors is effectively illegal, perhaps Congress needs to take action to do the same with alcohol in light of Anheuser-Busch’s actions,” he added.
Bud Light also released a can featuring a rainbow design and the words “celebrate everyone’s identity,” with different pronouns printed on the bottle.
The Beer Institute’s Code Compliance Review Board was published on its website Tuesday afternoon.
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