Tag Archive for: Corporate Activism

‘Huge Mistake’: Anheuser-Busch and Other Brands Continue to Face Worldwide Boycott

The year 2023 has been full of breaking news stories and madcap headlines. So far, it has entailed a bank collapse, four indictments of a former president, an AI revolution, investigations into the weaponization of the federal government, Hunter Biden’s controversial business dealings, and the list goes on.

In the midst of the political frenzy, one story continues to take the front page as more details are uncovered: the national boycott of several woke companies. The most recent development in this saga includes influential heirs and publications pointing out how far these companies have drifted from the values established by their founders.

Anheuser-Busch was the first to face a national boycott after Bud Light partnered with trans-identifying activist Dylan Mulvaney, ultimately costing the beer company $395 million in North America alone. Soon after, Target, Levi Strauss, Starbucks, and Sports Illustrated “decided to follow transgender advocacy straight to financial insolvency.” Although one would say that the ultimate goal of these retailers is to provide goods and services in exchange for currency, some experts argue that their priorities have shifted.

“Nothing big changes quickly. Corporations started caring more about virtue signaling than serving customers when they started to be led by people who cared more about virtue signaling than serving customers,” Joseph Backholm, senior fellow for Biblical Worldview, told The Washington Stand. “It’s just a fixation with feelings caused by a lack of adult leadership.”

With the collapse of Anheuser-Busch still in full swing, Billy Busch — the great-grandson of Adolphus Busch — weighed in on what he thinks his ancestors would have to say about the direction the company has taken.

“I think my family, my ancestors, would have rolled over in their graves,” he said. “They believed that transgender, gays, that sort of thing was all a very personal issue. They loved this country because it is a free country and people are allowed to do what they want, but it was never meant to be on a beer can and never meant to be pushed in people’s faces.”

In an interview with Sean Hannity, Busch noted that his family “wouldn’t have ever gotten as political as this.” He said that his family lived by the motto “making friends is our business,” which entailed bringing people together, making for a fun drinking experience. He later added, “people that drink Bud Light — that drink beer — really don’t relate to that kind of advertising,” calling the Dylan Mulvaney partnership “a huge mistake.”

As Anheuser-Busch sales continue to plummet over their LGBT advocacy, another massive corporation has walked away from their foundational values, also resulting in a financial crash.

Disney was next to be pummeled by the boycott wave, eventually resulting in the entertainment behemoth taking a monetary beating earlier this year. Not only did two of their recent films, “Lightyear” and “Strange World,” cost them $258 million, but Disney’s “crowds are getting smaller” this summer. Management’s ongoing feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has also proven unsuccessful, as they recently announced the cancellation of their $1 billion construction complex in Florida. Some are attributing their recent downfall to their woke, political agenda, which contradicts the founder’s values.

“Roy and Walt Disney would be shocked to see how Disney’s values have changed, which I believe is the foundation of Disney’s downward spiral in the last few years,” Melissa Henson wrote in an opinion piece published by The Washington Times. “Disney’s shift over the past few years — from broken promises about keeping R-rated content off Disney+ to content that sexualizes children — may have a lot to do with the company’s dismal performance these last several months.”

While speculations have been made as to why so many corporations have been abandoned this year, Backholm addressed the morality of boycotting from a Christian perspective.

“When it comes to boycotting, I think Christians are prohibited from encouraging evil. It’s hard to know where that line is because we live in a sin-filled world, and you can’t ever escape connections to it. But if we become convinced that one action is likely to lead to evil, we can’t take that action.” Ultimately, Backholm concluded, “We should all have a line that we are unwilling to cross.”


Abigail Olsson

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Public Sq., RedBalloon Step in to Help Laid Off Bud Light Workers Find Jobs

The 350 casualties of Bud Light’s July layoffs may not have to look far for new employment. After the beer company was forced to slash its workforce over the ongoing boycott, conservative marketplace Public Sq. is stepping in to help the hundreds who lost their jobs by connecting them with “non-woke businesses.”

Company CEO and founder Michael Seifert announced the idea in an open letter. Acknowledging the hardship that comes with losing a job, Seifert said, “We started our business to help people like you. The growing progressive politicization of our economy hurts Americans in so many different ways, and it’s time we take a stand against it.”

RedBalloon, working in tandem with PublicSq., tweeted the same open letter, insisting, “No one should lose their job because of woke ideologies or agendas, and so we want to help.” RedBalloon Communications Director Isaac Lopez told The Washington Stand, “We have had several submit their resumés, and we are actively working with our partner Public Sq. to place them. We want to help workers find jobs with companies that value hard-working Americans.”

A former Bud Light employee was elated by the post. “I got laid off by them. Going to sign up.” Lopez noted how the positive responses were encouraging and said that tens of thousands had already applied. He added that those who use RedBalloon “are looking for freedom in the workplace … And that’s what we hope to offer to these laid-off Bud Light employees.”

On “Washington Watch” Friday, Seifert explained that companies are learning the hard way that political extremism doesn’t pay. “Unfortunately, they are facing the harsh and very real consequences of taking a bad bet on ESG and DEI wokeism. And we throw around this phrase, ‘Go woke, go broke,’ [but] it is real. There are actual consequences to your bottom line, to your employees, to your distributors, to lots of people caught in the middle when your company decides to act more like a progressive political association and organization rather than a business that is focused on simply providing quality to your customers and shareholders. … [And] Bud Light now has dropped over $20 billion in their value.”

After the news broke that 350 people were now jobless as a result of Anheuser-Busch’s transgender outreach, Seifert said, “[w]e felt really inspired to try to help those that had been stuck in all of this crossfire. … [T]hey were, unfortunately, the ones that were facing the brunt of that poor marketing decision. And now they’re out of work. We wanted to help them.” Together with RedBalloon, which Seifert called “a non-woke jobs marketplace,” they put out a call for resumés.

The idea was to distribute those resumés to their combined network of “well over 55,000 small businesses that love the country, the Constitution, and the values that it protects.” Pretty soon, Seifert told guest host Jody Hice, “We got a bunch of resumés [Thursday], because that open letter now has — already in 24 hours — been viewed over 2.5 million times on Twitter.”

He talked to one former Bud Light employee personally, and when he asked about her experience, “She said, ‘I just feel heartbroken that the brand that I’ve dedicated years of my life to would decide to forgo their responsibility of providing a quality product and would instead embrace these policies that hurt us the most.’ And we’re excited to get to work to get her a job.”

Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm applauded Seifert for turning a negative into a “non-woke” positive. “But the fact that a ‘non-woke’ marketplace needs to exist is a comment on the current moment we’re living in. There’s a ton of pressure on corporations to use their influence to promote harmful ideas. In this case, that has cost hundreds of people their jobs as companies discover that there is a limit to how much social justice preaching the marketplace will tolerate.”


Sarah Holliday 

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Pride Messaging Down 40% from 2022 as Boycotts Explode

It was a normal Wednesday commute, crawling across the 14th Street Bridge with thousands of other frustrated D.C. drivers — until out the corner of my eye, I saw the metro glide across the tracks next to us. There, suspended above the Potomac, were eight cars — all wrapped in transgender and rainbow flags — speeding into the most powerful city in the world. Even now, weeks into this contrived celebration, it was a jarring picture of how insufferable the Pride movement has become. Deep into June, you can’t blame Americans for wondering: When will this train of extremism end?

Like me, Free Republic’s Kristinn Taylor was annoyed to see that even commuters can’t escape the LGBT oversaturation. “DC Metro cars [have] transformed into rolling ‘Pride’ struggle sessions,” she protested on Twitter. And according to a new poll, she’s not alone. Pride fatigue is real, The Trafalgar Group found, and it’s across the board.

In a new survey, Robert Cahaly’s group asked more than 1,000 people (who leaned Democratic by 4%) if they’re sick of the public LGBT pandering. A whopping 62% said yes, they just wished companies would stay neutral. Only 23% think corporations should continue on with their extreme political themes.

Equally as damning — at least for the CEOs still clinging to their offensive activism (think NikeTargetKohl’s) — are the massive swaths of consumers who are avoiding leftist brands. While 41% of all voters say they’ve “personally boycotted a company that took a public stance on a cultural or political issue they disagree with,” almost 70% are Republicans, who’ve refused to shop with “progressive” businesses. Forty percent of non-affiliated voters admitted to doing the same.

That’s a sizeable gap in pushback compared to Democrats, who are much less likely (45%) to punish “conservative or MAGA-leaning” businesses. Interestingly, 14% of Joe Biden’s party admitted to joining Republicans in abandoning overly woke companies — a surprisingly high cross-over rate that shows just how much radical CEOs have overplayed their hand on issues like transgenderism.

And the farther we get into June, the more intense the backlash has become. Shoppers everywhere have made punching bags out of Bud Light and Target — forcing several of American brands to reconsider just how much capital they’re willing to sacrifice. As the losses to those brands dip into the multi-billions, there’s a growing sense that businesses are getting the message.

According to Bloomberg, brands are dramatically toning down their Pride promotion from last year. In the wake of the Dylan Mulvaney scandal in April, “references to ‘Pride Month’ in filings, presentations and transcripts from April to June at more than 900 of the largest US companies dropped almost 40% from this time last year, the first decline in five years. Other LGBTQ terms showed similar declines, the analysis found.”

That’s a seismic shift for the U.S. market and an enormous victory for grassroots Americans who’ve finally put their dollars where their values are. As Dr. Ben Carson said on Wednesday’s “Washington Watch,” these big brands have finally been forced to reevaluate their purpose — and, just as importantly, their loyalties. “Corporate America has a very important purpose, and that is to reward their stockholders. Now, they can’t necessarily do that if they have another agenda — like being social manipulators. And I think they’re starting to recognize that. And I’m glad to see also that the people are pushing back.”

The Bud Light disaster, Target’s trans outreach, “all of these things,” Carson pointed out, “are wake-up calls for corporate America to get back to doing what they’re supposed to be doing and stop meddling. You know, one of the reasons that our country was established is because people wanted to come to a place where they could live the life that they wanted to live without it being manipulated and without all kinds of mandates. And whether those mandates come from the government or from corporate America, they still have a deleterious effect on the freedoms that people experience.”

“And the only people who can change that is we the people. … We have to put our foot down and say, this is America. This is where we are free to live the way that we want to, to worship the way we want to, to say what we want to say. And we’re not going to stand for government or corporate America to try to dictate [what we think and believe].”

No one has been in that bullseye more than Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth, who called the crashing and burning of his brand a “challenging few weeks” on Fox. And while he has yet to apologize for the firestorm that Bud Light started by embracing transgenderism, he does accept the blame for the devastating consequences of that decision. “We have to understand the impact that it’s had … on our employees, the impact on our consumers, and as well the impact on our partners,” he said. “One thing I’d love to make extremely clear is that impact is my responsibility and as the CEO, everything we do here I’m accountable for.”

“There’s a big social conversation taking place right now,” Whitworth acknowledged, “and big brands are right in the middle of it. And it’s not just our industry or Bud Light. It’s happening in retail, happening in fast food. And so for us, what we need to understand is — deeply understand and appreciate — is the consumer and what they want, what they care about and what they expect from big brands.”

What they expect, the polls have shown since 2021, is neutrality. When a good 40% of your consumer base ups and walks away, there should be plenty of motivation for corporations to sit down and rethink their politics.

“Most Americans respond to relentless, preachy marketing from businesses trying to virtue signal their progressive bona fides like they respond to street preachers thumping a Bible,” Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm told The Washington Stand. “But the LGBTQ movement, like the street preacher, doesn’t care because they have simply decided anyone who rejects their message is going to hell. The LGBT movement has become what they claim to hate, but they haven’t recognized it yet.”

In the meantime, what they and everyone else can’t help but recognize is Americans’ buying power. May it continue to be the bridle that holds the woke in check.


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.


Idaho MassResistance forces city library to have NO “Pride” display this year. Unrelenting pro-family activism sent a strong message!

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Republicans Spurn Corporate Donations as Woke Backlash Continues

It looks like everyday Americans aren’t the only ones boycotting Big Business. While companies take a beating for their woke policies in stores and restaurants across the country, another longtime ally has flat-out walked away: the GOP. More than two years after January 6, when CEOs made a spectacle out of cutting donations to Republicans, corporate America is facing an uncomfortable reality — the GOP wouldn’t take their money now anyway.

Back in 2021, people wondered if the relationship between Republicans and America’s business community would survive the spat. Was the post-election tension just a rough patch or the beginning of a “seismic shift?” Today, as red states go to war with titans like BlackRock and governors openly battle Disney and JP Morgan, the split has never seemed more permanent. And, unlike the timid GOP of the past, the Republican Party’s warrior class seems no worse for wear. If anything, ridding themselves of a two-timing corporate America has made the GOP stronger and more independent than ever.

Just this week, The Wall Street Journal shined a light on the enormous realignment that’s taken place where campaign dollars are concerned. When the mob pulled their contributions from the GOP, it sounded like a death knell for fundraising. On the contrary, experts say. That decision actually helped Republicans wean themselves off corporate dollars and tap into the grassroots’ frustration against woke CEOs.

“Republicans are now less dependent on corporate and industry PACs than at any time in the past three decades,” according to the WSJ analysis. “Instead, they are turning to smaller donations from millions of individuals who tend to be wary of big-businesses priorities.” And while the donations usually come in small denominations, the sheer number of people giving to the conservative cause is offsetting the punch that corporate America thought they had.

“Gone are the days that Republicans are going to sit on the sidelines as big behemoths take advantage of the American people,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told the Journal. “We are going to hold them accountable.”

One of the most dramatic examples of this shift is House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) war chest. In 2016, the Journal’s Brody Mullins points out, 40% of his campaign dollars came from business PACs. By 2022, it was less than 3%. Now, without those financial ties, he’s even more free to “castigate Wall Street for taking progressive political stands.”

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who’s been outspoken about his frustration with Big Business, couldn’t be happier about the disentanglement. “I don’t see any reason to take a dime from these folks,” he said. “I’m not going to be beholden in any way to their agenda.” For too long, he argued, corporate America has “attempt[ed] to have it both ways. [They will] endorse these far-Left social policies, they will try to blackmail [red] states… but then they’ll turn around and come to Republicans asking for tax breaks, tax credits, and trade deals.” Good luck with that now, conservatives say.

If they’re going to attack our values, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said, “They probably shouldn’t come and ask Republican senators to carry the water for them whenever our Democratic friends want to regulate them or block their mergers.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins couldn’t agree more. “Until America’s business community embraces — or at least stops attacking — the moral and social structure that leads to growth,” he wrote last year, “the Left can have them. And then, when their revenues implode because of the Left’s regulations and their profits evaporate over the Democrats’ tax-and-spend politics, maybe Big Business will come to their senses and realize how good they and their stockholders once had it.”

Not only has that extremism driven away GOP officials, it’s also triggered an unprecedented wave of consumer backlash across the country — a wave so devastating to brands’ bottom lines that CEOs are privately telling McCarthy they’re “doing their best to avoid speaking publicly about such topics.” Others are racing to rethink their political involvement, especially on the transgender issue that has become such “a lightning rod” for American consumers.

Now, as the number of citizens who call themselves “social conservatives” rockets up to 38%, CEOs will have even more incentive to tone down their activism.

Taken together, FRC Action Director Matt Carpenter warns, it doesn’t bode well for the Left and their woke allies. “Much has been said about the trend of working-class voters moving toward the GOP — and rightfully so. It’s changing American politics dramatically. As we saw in the most recent midterm elections, Republicans won non-college voters 54% to 42%, and Democrats won voters with college degrees 53% to 44%. This wasn’t always the case. Traditionally, union voters and working-class voters were firmly within the Democrat base. Making up 58% of the overall electorate, you can see how these voters are a juggernaut in American politics.”

“Given this shift,” Carpenter told The Washington Stand, “it makes sense that we would see the GOP move away from large corporate PACs as a result. The interests advanced by these PACs often do not represent the interests of this emerging working-class GOP. This will have huge ramifications in the years to come as GOP politicians are influenced more and more by small dollar donations from the grassroots rather than high-dollar fundraisers at fancy restaurants in Washington, D.C.”

In the meantime, the grassroots are proving to everyone to everyone: they’re a much bigger force to be reckoned with than Big Business.


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

No Company Is Perfect, So Where Do Christians Draw the Line?

As businesses like Target sell apparel for children with Satanist ties and Bud Light advocates transgenderism, believers naturally start to wonder: “Is it wrong for Christians to shop at stores run by sinners?”

This question was posed on a recent episode of the Outstanding Podcast with host Joseph Backholm and guests Jared Bridges and Suzanne Bowdey. The rise of corrupt ideologies sweeping over America is nothing new, but how do Christians determine whether boycotting is the right course of action?

The fact of the matter is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. So, the better question may be: is it wrong for Christians to consciously give money to companies who use those dollars to support sinful practices? Throughout the discussion, Bridges and Bowdey share helpful insights in navigating this conundrum.

Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand, advocates for boycotting. “I think a lot of Christians and other people get caught up in the fact that you can’t be pure about boycotting. You can’t find a company or a national corporation that’s going to be 100% with your Christian values. [But] I accept the imperfection of boycotting,” she said. “I accept that it’s messy. I accept that it’s inexact. … For me, it’s about: what am I doing as a Christian, as a steward of what God has given me?”

Constantly looking for companies to boycott “is no way to live,” Bowdey acknowledged.  But when is the activism is blatant, Christians should consider whether it’s worth spending money with businesses that will turn around and use it to support woke agendas.

Sharing his perspective, TWS Editor-in-Chief Jared Bridges stated, “I don’t think [boycotting] is un-Christ-like. The reformers were the ones who wanted to change the church.” He continued, “They wanted to reform the church. And then you had Puritans who wanted to leave and go elsewhere. Now, as an evangelical Christian, today in America, I have benefited from both reformers and Puritans.” Bridges added. When contemplating these issues, “I think we need both. Ultimately, we can’t boycott everything that offends us.”

So, how and where do we draw the line?

“We can only control what we can control,” Bowdey stated. “Yes, it’s inconvenient, because my list has gotten pretty big. … But are those things I can avoid? Absolutely.” For Bowdey, it’s worth figuring out where you draw the line personally. She talked about an FRC colleague who draws the line at companies that support abortion travel such as Amazon. As difficult as it was for her co-worker to give up Prime, she thought about it this way, “When I get to heaven, God’s going to look me in the eye and say, ‘Was it really worth it for the free two-day shipping?’”

Much of this discussion boils down to personal conviction. But, as Bowdey stated, “We are accountable for what we know. If I know that my money is going to be turned around and given to the Trevor Project or the Human Rights Campaign, and they’re going to use it to fund a war on God’s values, [I’ll have to answer for that].”  Bridges lamented that many Christians don’t even take the time to think about these matters enough to have personal convictions.

At the end of the day, Backholm emphasized, Christians have one ultimate loyalty: Jesus Christ. “As truth seekers, we have to recognize that whenever there are people involved, there are opportunities for sin to come in,” he stated. What is most important is to discern what best aligns with Jesus. At what point do you draw the line? What sacrifices are you willing to make for the sake of upholding Christian values?

1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Christians have a call to live according to a biblical worldview — that is, in accordance with the Scriptures. Perhaps this discussion is hard to navigate. Perhaps the solution is not clear. What is clear is that we ought to glorify God in all we do. As Backholm put it, ask yourself this question: “Am I looking for excuses to do what I want to do, or am I trying to find a way to be more obedient to Jesus?”

As the discussion ended, Bridges added that “there are ways to interact in the world to the glory of God.” Through prayer, “We need to seek Him in how we do that.”


Sarah Holliday

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Nike Pokes the Bear by Collaborating with Child Sex Change Doc

While the rest of corporate America runs for the hills on over-the-top Pride messaging, a handful of holdouts seem determined to run their brands into the ground. Nike, who felt Americans’ wrath for hiring Dylan Mulvaney to sell sports bras, is going for broke with its latest stunt: a special Pride event featuring a doctor who commits gender mutilation on children. Just do it, indeed.

Controversial doctor Blair Peters, The Daily Mail discovered in a leaked email, will be taking part in this summer’s NikeUNITED Pride events, which intend to celebrate “the past, present, and future of our global LGBTQIA+ community” — including spotlighting a barbaric practice that 19 states have now outlawed. Peters will be featured on a panel that promises “to discuss policies impacting the transgender community” next week. (This, of course, is in addition to the “family-friendly Drag Story Time” and drag queen-employee sports competition Nike will also host).

Peters, who goes by the Twitter handle @queersurgeon, bragged in a now-deleted 2022 tweet that he “performed gender affirming mastectomies (top surgeries) for 3 young adults and adolescents today.” He also admitted to irreversibly altering children’s bodies in another video for Oregon Health & Science University, where he works.

“I’m Blair Peters,” he says to the camera. “I use pronouns. I’m a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at OHSU, and I specialize in gender-affirming and peripheral nerve surgery. I describe gender-affirming surgery as using surgery to help someone physically actualize their internal sense of self. So I view surgery as changing something that makes someone feel dysphoric to make them feel euphoric and better and more comfortable in their own body.”

“You know,” he continues, “I have an adolescent patient that hasn’t been going to school for months and is completely socially isolated and is having just like an extremely difficult time. And they come back to clinic two months after top surgery, and they are like this exuberant teenager in school, you know, planning the rest of their life, thriving all of a sudden.”

Peters insists a “few hours in the operating room can completely transform somebody.” “And that’s a pretty amazing way to spend your life,” he insists, “especially as a queer person. … I couldn’t imagine feeling more fulfilled.”

“Fulfilled” may not be how investors put it, especially if Americans train their fury on the brand Michael Jordan made famous. But then, walking on thin ice is second nature to Nike. The company that sparked shoe bonfires after its defense of Colin Kaepernick, who outraged human rights advocates by trying to weaken protections for the Uyghur slaves sewing their swooshes, and infuriated women with a breast-less Mulvaney selling their bras may have survived storms before. But this moment, experts say, is different.

Before Bud Light triggered an avalanche of boycotts, CEOs flaunted their LGBT extremism. But, as “Shark Tank’s” Kevin O’Leary pointed out, “[People] are concerned that maybe [businesses] are losing their way in terms of what the prime objective is: your customers, your employees, and your shareholders. … [S]o if you start to get too distant or too far away from the primary mandate, the market has proven itself to really, really punish you. And it’s woken up all kinds of boards.”

“When you lose [$15 billion] of market cap,” O’Leary continued, “there are a lot of unhappy cowboys out there. They’re called your investors.”

Billionaire Elon Musk warned that Target and others could even be staring down legal action from investors now that the company’s stock has been officially downgraded. The transgender merchandise that CEO Brian Cornell insisted was “great for our brand” has destroyed the retail chain, sending profits into a nosedive. “Won’t be long before there are class-action lawsuits by shareholders against the company and board of directors for destruction of shareholder value,” Musk tweeted.

Like Nike, Target has been publicly unrepentant. Even Bud Light, whose Dylan Mulvaney cans started this woke brand dumpster fire, sank another $200,000 into the LGBT activism that got them into this mess in the first place.

Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm isn’t surprised by the companies’ brazenness. “Metastasized sin always flaunts itself,” he told The Washington Stand. “It often begins as something we hide because we feel shame. But eventually we become comfortable with it and then we become proud of it. Lots of people within the sexual revolution are proud of their sin and have no sense of shame.”

“But there’s another thing happening on the transgender issue as well,” Backholm insisted. “The implications of the Left of being wrong about this issue are so terrible they can’t consider the possibility. If you mutilate children for progressive brownie points, that basically makes you Josef Mengele. So, when you have a position that you must defend — despite significant evidence you’re wrong — sometimes the instinct is to be bombastic as a way to avoid introspection. It’s at least possible all of this is overcompensation in an attempt to convince themselves they’re confident about what they’re doing.”

But overcompensation is a pricy gamble these days. And if consumer sentiment doesn’t change, the company named for the goddess of victory is bound to be a financial loser.


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Boycott Target’ Rap Hits Number 1 on iTunes

Patriot Rappers Discuss How Their Song ‘Boycott Target’ Skyrocketed to the Top of the Charts.

For those who didn’t know about the Target controversy already, they likely know now.

Forgiato Blow, nicknamed “Trump’s Nephew,” released a song about boycotting Target last week, and it is rapidly climbing the charts. Blow’s music video has at least 705,000 views on YouTube, and the song has been growing in popularity ever since its reveal. “Boycott Target” was ranked #1 for top songs according to iTunes Top 10 Music Charts U.S.A. and has been a headliner in the news this week.

“Boycott Target” was released as a response to Target’s inclusion of LGBTQ products and partnership with a Satanist designer earlier in May. There was a firestorm of backlash from conservatives. Many were upset at the inclusion of over-sexualized ideas in children’s books and children’s clothing. The idea of boycotting Target went viral on social media, and many well-known conservatives have championed the revolt.

Forgiato Blow is an American rapper who has written many songs to demonstrate his love for Donald Trump, America, and conservative ideals. He saw the Target controversy as an opportunity for a hit single, and he took it. Some of his song lyrics include, “Target is targeting your kids” and “We need a clean up on every aisle, inside this store Satan resides.” The music video is filmed inside of the department store, while Blow and other featured artists wave the controversial items at the camera, clearly articulating their views on the products.

While the uproar has been ongoing in the limelight for a few weeks now, this hit song has likely brought attention to a wider, younger audience. A recent Forbes study shows that 94% of Gen Z survey respondents say that music is important to their lives. In that same study, 40% say that music plays a role in shaping their social circle.

“Now that sites have ‘trending’ features, it’s an easy way for the same ideas to be planted in all our heads at the same time,” Zach Sprouse, Regent University student and Family Research Council intern says. “In a way, it’s a good idea to reach Gen Z through trending songs and posts, because most young people are way more likely to listen to the #1 song of the day rather than turn on the news.”

So, is it beneficial for politics to merge with modern arts to impress different ideas? Studies show that this is already happening. “We ought to just embrace it and use trending features to spread our objectives,” Sprouse concludes. Music and the arts are highly influential in modeling our perception of the world. Artists like Forgiato Blow understand the ripple effect of their music and will most likely continue pushing agendas in their work in the future.


Baylie McClafferty

RELATED ARTICLE: Target and Kohl’s Face Greater Backlash for Funding an Organization That Promotes Child Mutilation

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Dozens of Major Corporations Have Abysmal Protections for Free Speech, Religion: Study

Dozens of major corporations lack adequate protections for free speech and religion even as several companies have improved since last year, a new study suggests.

The study was conducted in partnership with the investment technology service Inspire Insight, which provides faith-based investing data and ratings to thousands of institutions.

Only two of the 75 companies examined had scored over 25 in their respect for speech and religion. ADF contends that “millions of everyday Americans are at risk of cancelation or punishment for their views.”

The bottom five companies when it comes to respecting free speech and religious freedom rights are Airbnb (2%), Amazon.com (4%), Alphabet (Google) (4%), eBay (5%) and Microsoft (5%). Those companies saw their scores drop by 3%, 2%, 5%, 2% and 0%, respectively, compared to last year.

“Threats to freedom don’t just come from the government, but from major corporations like financial institutions and big tech companies that have concentrated power over essential services and communication channels,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Too often, these corporations de-bank or deplatform Americans, citing policies that give them unbounded discretion to censor people for their views.”

Only one of the companies analyzed, Fidelity National Information Services, received an overall score of 50%. This marks a 32% jump from last year, when it received a score of 18%. M&T Bank received an overall score of 25%, an 11% jump from the 14% it earned last year.

Businesses studied in the research include those in “industries that have the greatest potential to impact individuals’ or institutions’ freedom of speech or religion,” including banking companies, payment processing services, and social media platforms. Scores were compiled based on responses companies provided to a survey commissioned by ADF.

Higher scores were given to companies that have “terms of use/service” that “avoid unclear or imprecise terms” and “avoid viewpoint discrimination” as well as “harmful conduct policies” that “apply equally.”

Additional factors that give corporations higher scores on the index include “harmful conduct policies” that “apply equally,” the presence of a “public anti-viewpoint discrimination policy,” “notice of content or service restrictions,” as well as policies promoting “respect for diverse beliefs at work” and religious discrimination.

A corporation’s score is also impacted by its advocacy on behalf of political spending, specifically whether or not it spent money in support of laws or litigation that are “harmful to speech or religion.” A company’s policy regarding written religious accommodations, or lack thereof, also factored into its score.

Other companies that saw slightly higher scores compared to last year include Citigroup, whose score rose to 11% from 8%; Morgan Stanley, 9% to 11%; Meta, 9% to 10%; Apple, 7% to 8%; Adobe, which scored 6% in 2023 compared to 5% in 2022; and GoDaddy, which rose from 2% score to 8%.

Besides the bottom five, a handful of other notable companies saw their scores decrease from last year: Rackspace (14% to 13%), Capitol One (13% to 12%), Visa (11% to 10%), Wells Fargo (13% to 10%), Citizens Financial Group (10% to 9%), JP Morgan Chase (15% to 9%), Mastercard (10% to 9%), Bank of America (10% to 8%), Discover (13% to 8%), Oracle (9% to 8%), PayPal (7% to 5%) and Twitter (6% to 5%).

Tedesco maintained that “companies need to take seriously the way their policies and practices can chill the exercise of speech and religion and deter individuals from participating in the democratic process.”

“All Americans benefit when powerful corporations respect free speech and religious freedom,” he added. “Our goal is to help the largest corporations implement positive and lasting changes that protect everyone’s free speech and religious freedom from corporate overreach. Each survey completed, resolution filed, and conversation with senior leadership advances the ball.”

Examples of troubling policies listed in the detailed report about the research, obtained by The Christian Post, include Twitter deplatforming The Babylon Bee under a “hateful conduct policy,” Netflix holding employee training promoting critical race theory and Bank of America’s restriction on donations to religious charities.

Twitter also de-platformed The Christian Post for nine months last year for factually reporting that a Biden official is a man and not a woman. CP’s account was reinstated after Elon Musk took over.


Ryan Foley

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post.

This article originally appeared in The Christian Post.

RELATED ARTICLE: Target Stocks Continue to Plummet Despite Cutting Ties with Satanist Designer

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

When Corporations Act Like Politicians

As the 2024 presidential primary begins to take shape, pundits of all descriptions treat their readers to theories of whether this or that candidate can hold onto the partisan base or persuade independents. Strangely, many corporations — all Democrats, apparently — are behaving in the same, partisan way. Their unbusinesslike behavior is hurting their bottom line.

The gravest recent example is Anheuser-Busch, manufacturer of Bud Light, who sponsored an Instagram post by Dylan Mulvaney, a man who pretends to be a girl, during March Madness. Even though senior management apparently never signed off on the decision, the backlash was furious, rapid, and sustained. Bud Light sales fell 21.4% in April and continue to drop, sinking 28.4% lower in the boycott’s sixth week, according to Beer Business Daily, which noted, “nobody imagined it would go on this long. … It struck a nerve.” This, despite Anheuser-Busch’s attempts to re-entice former customers, including a patriotic ad campaigncamo-print bottles, and a statement from the CEO admitting that they “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”

Now, Bud Light is basically giving beer away and buying back expired beer from wholesalers in efforts to boost sales. Shares in the company have plummeted nearly 15% since the end of March, a loss of nearly $20 billion (with a “B”) in market value. Oh, and left-wing pundits are attacking Anheuser Busch for its weak attempt at an apology, which NBC News’s Ben Collins characterized as, “Bud Light caves to a mob.” Bud Light was last seen sponsoring Pride parades for the upcoming Pride Month, with all of the revenue they aren’t making.

In the last week of May, retail giant Target joined the fun, rolling out a 2023 “PRIDE” collection that featured Satanic symbolism and trans-specific items like a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit, prompting some conservatives to call for a boycott. Target responded by relocating the unsightly Pride displays from the front of some stores and removing some offensive items from its website, but CEO Brian Cornell doubled down on the decision, claiming that partnering with a Satanist to design pro-trans merchandise was “just good business decisions” and “a great thing for our brand.”

It’s too early to tell if Target’s sales numbers have been affected, but its stock has crashed more than 13% since last Wednesday, a loss of more than $10 billion in market value (for perspective, Target saw a “full-year operating income of $3.8 billion in 2022”). Leftists rewarded Target for its transgressive Pride display and non-apology by slamming it. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) complained that Cornell was “selling out the LGBTQ+ community,” while National Black Justice Coalition executive director David Johns said Target’s allyship with the LGBTQ community was merely “superficial.” For their part, Target rebounded from the Pride boycott with an email to their employees to “remember the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.”

The corporate flip-flop is not only for manufacturers and retailers. The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team planned to award an anti-Catholic group of “queer and trans nuns” — whose D.C.-based chapter was formerly led by former Biden nuclear official Sam Brinton — with their annual “Community Hero Award” at their Pride Night on June 16. Not surprisingly, this provoked Catholics to call for a boycott of the Dodgers. The Dodgers rescinded the group’s invitation, acknowledging their controversial nature. But when they did so, LA Pride, which produces the city’s Pride parade, also dropped out, “forcing” the Dodgers to “offer our sincerest apologies” and reinvite the drag troupe.

You might have noticed a pattern developing here: Company X tries to promote the LGBT agenda without generating any controversy — and generates controversy. First, conservatives get mad at the promotion, leading the company to publish a half-hearted apology or half-step back. Next, progressives get made at the company’s supposed capitulation to conservatives. The company winds up angering both sides. Its effort to boost its image winds up backfiring. From this pattern, other companies should learn to ask: if we proceed with this marketing campaign, what’s the end result? Will there be backlash among our customers?

You also might have noticed that the products for sale — baseball, home furnishings, beer — appeal to broad, diverse customer bases. Everyone needs a rug or lamp or articles to fill their domicile. A large swath of American society drinks beer aplenty. And baseball is an American classic. This makes the promotion of trans ideology — a polarizing and un-inclusive issue — wholly unfitting for these brands. Not only does the ideology alienate religious Americans, but it is so unnatural — to a degree surpassing same-sex marriage — that it even alienates people who haven’t thought deeply about it, but who instinctively abhor transgenderism nonetheless.

The point of marketing campaigns is to make your product appealing to your customer base. If that customer base is broad, the marketing campaign should have broad appeal: lovable characters (Geico), memorable slogans (Capitol One), catchy jingles (Liberty Mutual), enticing visuals (anyone selling a burger). Statistically speaking, the percentage of the population who identify as transgender is tiny, even smaller than the percentage that might be turned off by overt appeals to them. Even if they sell such products, Nike doesn’t advertise shoes over size 20, Allstate doesn’t advertise insurance rates for Lamborghinis, and Chick-fil-A doesn’t advertise the vegan options on their menu. Such niche promotion is not worthwhile — unless the product being marketed is also niche.

Furthermore, these products — baseball, home furnishings, beer — are inherently nonpartisan and are in no way enhanced by association with the Pride agenda. A father-son outing to the ballpark is in no way improved by drag performers competing to disgust Catholics. Men drinking at a bar actually prefer that their beverage of choice not be marketed by a TikTok influencer caricaturing an underage girl. A store’s embrace of transgender ideology adds nothing to the take-home value of a shower curtain or candle or desk lamp purchased there. Even the sliver of the population to whom they’re trying to appeal are already as likely to purchase these ubiquitous products and brands as anyone else.

Way back in the 1990s, basketball great-turned-entrepreneur Michael Jordan resisted pressure to endorse Democrat Harvey Gantt in his challenge to Republican Senator Jesse Helms. “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” he reasoned. More corporations today would be wise to heed his advice.

Somewhere along the way, America’s major corporations have stopped behaving like businesses and started behaving like politicians. A politician succeeds by winning votes — which increasingly involves performative virtue-signaling in our culture obsessed with performative identity. A business succeeds by producing the best product and selling it for the lowest price. But investing in pride campaigns is a dubious method for improving a product, and by raising costs it actually increases the price.

Corporations are busy trying to win votes by performative virtue-signaling, but it turns out that is a horrible way to deliver the best product for the lowest price.


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

4 More Companies Go ‘Full Bud Light,’ Daring Consumers to Boycott

While major banks downgrade Anheuser-Busch’s stock and Bud Light becomes a corporate punch line, a quartet of CEOs seem all too happy to join them. As the beer company implodes under the weight of a national boycott, their cautionary tale seems lost on four companies, who’ve decided to follow transgender advocacy straight to financial insolvency. Who are the brands foolish enough to ride Bud Light’s tattered coattails?

1. Target

One of the first companies to stick out their necks for the LGBT agenda, Target was woke before woke was a word. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the chain who introduced a controversial line of “Love Is Love” shirts way back in 2012 was ready to board the transgender train. Back then, retail analyst Britt Beemer warned that the Target strategy isn’t “very smart,” especially in conservative states, where it does the biggest business. “Anytime a retailer gets away from doing what they should be doing by being involved in a social cause, [they lose].”

Target got a taste of that last year, when the mega-retailer — who helped launch the war on gender six years ago with its mixed-gender bathrooms and fitting rooms — decided to fill its racks with merchandise to help young people reject the biological sex God gave them. From chest binders that strap down breasts to compression underwear to hide bulges for boys, Target is taking direct aim at America’s children.

Now, the soulless company is inviting new outrage with a trans line of clothes and books. With colorful messages like “Trans people will always exist!” “Queer! Queer! Queer! Queer!” “Cure transphobia, not trans people,” and “Ask me about my pronouns,” Target is putting itself in the bullseye. There are baby bodysuits, rompers, mugs, and a collection of books that would put most moms on the warpath. “My Sister Daisy,” which is about a boy learning to how to treat his younger brother’s “gender [transition] with compassion,” is recommended for 5 to 7-year-olds, while “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish” clocks in even younger (4-8).

The activist group Gays Against Groomers didn’t hold back their fury. “We hope there are enough parents out there that understand how wrong this is and show them that this garbage will not sell,” they urged their hundreds of thousands of followers. “The only thing these people understand is money. Target deserves the Bud Light treatment. We will work to put the pressure on them.”

2. Levi Strauss

Last fall, Jennifer Sey, a longtime Levi’s executive, wrote a blockbuster book about the radical undercurrent at America’s oldest jeans company called, “Levi’s Unbuttoned: The Woke Mob Took My Job But Gave Me My Voice.” Sey’s candid, behind-the-scenes tell-all made quite a splash, especially her frank assessment of upper management’s radical politics.

“Today’s executives reared these kids with an ‘I’m not your Dad, I’m your friend’ parenting philosophy, and they chase their children’s approval,” she writes. “They want to impress their woke kids with their own progressive bona fides.”

Their latest idea? A gender-neutral clothing line. CEO Chip Bergh announced the idea this month, dismissing any fears about “a Bud Light-type backlash” against the 170-year-old company. Unisex clothing, he argued, is the wave of the future in a supposedly trans-accepting society.

“We are building out slowly,” he explained to Axios. “It started with a small collection of gender-neutral or gender-fluid line, and there’s definitely consumer appetite for that,” Bergh claimed. “And we are here for that.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Levi’s has rolled the dice on sexual politics. Its first foray into the trans market was 2017 with a collection called Line 8. Since then, they’ve only leaned harder into the fad, posting a guide to unisex shopping in 2019. (Like every other company on this list, their extremism also extends to abortion politics.)

As Sey warned, the tentacles of radicalism run deep at Levi’s — thanks in part to the younger generation of workers there, who she calls “ideological terrorists” who are “policing their peers and elders relentlessly.” Company leaders, she insists, “are unwilling to stand up to them.” “Most CEOs lack the moral courage to hold their ground,” Sey wrote. “Because they know, deep down, that they aren’t do-gooders, and they don’t want that curtain lifted.”

3. Starbucks

Anyone who’s ordered a cup from the iconic green mermaid has been fueling more than their caffeine fix — they’ve been financing the movement to trans our sons and daughters. After a divisive pronoun campaign in 2019 called #WhatsYourName, the mega-retailer one-upped America’s other woke CEOs last year by offering to ship employees’ children out of state to change their sex.

A statement from the company’s Sara Kelly announced that Starbucks is committed to the most outrageous forms of corporate activism — including paid travel for transgender surgery. “Regardless of where you live or what you believe, partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare will now be offered reimbursement for eligible travel expenses when accessing abortion or gender-affirming procedures when those services are not available within 100 miles of a partner’s home.”

Now, a year later, Starbucks, whose philanthropic partners include an advocate for child sex-changes, is taking its campaign to mutilate children to the world.

On May 9, Starbucks India ignited a global firestorm after releasing an ad openly celebrating gender reassignment surgery. In the commercial, which has more than a million views, a mom and dad meet with their son, who now identifies as a girl, at the coffee shop. They all listen as the barista calls out a drink for “Arpita,” their son’s new name — meant to be a sign that his parents, who placed the order, accept his new female identity. “For me, you are still my kid,” the father says. “Only a letter has been added to your name,” he said, reaching out for his son’s hand.

Underneath, the Indian caption reads, “Your name defines who you are — whether it’s Arpit or Arpita. At Starbucks, we love and accept you for who you are. Because being yourself means everything to us. #ItStartsWithYourName.”

An Australian-based pundit, who’s watched Bud Light’s fall from grace, couldn’t believe Starbucks would be crazy enough to jump on the burning bandwagon. They’re going “full Bud Light,” he warned. “If saturating the market with a mediocre U.S. coffee brand wasn’t bad enough,” Rukshan Fernando tweeted, “now they are bringing their woke corporate culture to the Sub-Continent.”

Others pointed out the coffee company’s hypocrisy, since “Starbucks in Saudi [Arabia], UAE, and Qatar have been around much longer than India. Yet you will never see them place such ads there.” Then there was Indian celebrity Nuance Bro, who urged locals to walk away. “Alright India here’s your chance to resist properly. … Do not let this programming gain a foothold.”

But it’s not as if Starbucks’ agenda is a surprise. The liberal business has never truly cared about kids — not after spending thousands of dollars helping Planned Parenthood abort them — or working to deprive them of a married mom and dad. Still, if the wave of opposition to the trans agenda on both sides is any indication, something’s brewing at Starbucks — and that’s trouble.

4. Sports Illustrated

Men who pick up a copy of the 2023 swimsuit edition hoping to see actual women at the beach are in for quite a surprise with this year’s edition. Instead of a biological female on the cover, the woke magazine opted for Kim Petras, a busty man who underwent gender-transition surgery at age 16.

“I was so excited when I got the call to be in Sports Illustrated,” Petras, a German-born singer, told SI. “It’s very iconic, and a lot of very iconic people have done it before, so [it was a] big dream come true for me.” Asked about the pushback he might get, 30-year-old Petras replied, “It’s definitely a scary time to be transgender in America, but there’s also so much more representation than there’s ever been, and there’s so many things on the bright side.”

Back in 2006, the singer was considered “the world’s youngest transsexual” after he appeared on a television show describing his transition, which started with hormones at just 12 years old.

For Sports Illustrated, who’s no stranger to controversy, this isn’t the first time the magazine has pushed the envelope with a trans model. Leyna Bloom landed the cover job in 2021. Readers were irate — but the criticism obviously fell on deaf ears. “There is no theme [to this year’s issue],” Editor-in-Chief MJ Day explained this time around, “rather, there is a vision, a sentiment, a hope that women can live in a world where they feel no limitations, internally or externally.” These women share “certain common traits,” she insisted. “They’re constantly evolving.”

Evolving is one way to put it, critics lashed out. Is no space that’s historically been reserved for women — no traditions, jobs, sports, or products — sacred anymore? “The 2023 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover model is a biological man with fake boobs,” Wisconsin activist Scarlett Johnson posted. “I really hope men are #Done with Sports Illustrated.” Over at Rebel News, Ezra Levant joked, “I guess the Bud Light ad wizards had to land somewhere.”

Meanwhile, consumers can’t help but wonder: who in their right mind would follow Bud Light down this fatal road? A single can with the wrong partner sent Anheuser-Busch into a nationwide tailspin — with no relief in sight. As other brands watch that five-alarm fire destroy the brand’s reputation, others are reaching for the same hot stove.

Why? Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm believes it’s because “progressives are true believers.” “They don’t just say the key to happiness is a world in which truth is personal and everyone gets to be who they want to be. They really believe it,” he told The Washington Stand. “They believe it so strongly they’re even willing to temporarily lose money along the way.”

“There’s actually a lot for Christians to learn here,” he insisted. “Do we believe the truth as much as they believe lies?”

For conservative, freedom-loving alternatives to every leftist coffee, denim, retail, and beer company, download the Public Sq. app and reward the businesses who share your values.


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Bud Light Fiasco Proved Conservatives Already Have The Secret Weapon To Win

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Patriotic Reboot Doesn’t Change Bud Light’s Sobering Outlook

It’s Public Relations 101. When you’re getting hammered by critics, distract. If you can’t change the narrative, try changing the subject. Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t always work, as the big cheeses at Anheuser-Busch are quickly learning. After the worst two weeks in the company’s 171-year history, CEO Brendan Whitworth did his best “Hey, look over here!” moment. But it, like their low-level decision to debase women and alienate core consumers, bombed.

Any other time, the iconic Clydesdales galloping across picturesque American landmarks would have been a slam dunk. Until recently, the patriotic shots of couples waving their flags or women pledging allegiance would’ve been considered “on brand” for any Budweiser ad. Now, customers see it for what it is: a non-apology apology from a company that thinks slapping the stars and stripes on a commercial will help people forget they made a mockery of women to sell beer.

Or not sell beer, as the case may be. “Steep” doesn’t begin to describe the cost of partnering with Dylan Mulvaney, Hollywood’s favorite dress-wearing son. Since plastering cans with his pitiful imitation of Audrey Hepburn, Anheuser-Busch has lost a whopping $6 billion in market capitalization — ironically turning the beer into the “out of touch” “brand in decline” that Bud’s millennial managers claimed they were avoiding.

Their refusal to read the room is forcing Whitworth to pivot, as even the GOP presidential candidates take turns making Bud Light the butt of every joke. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy seized the moment to introduce “Bud Right” koozies. “There are *two* genders,” the Strive Asset Management co-founder tweeted. “Men are men & women are women. Don’t apologize for the truth.”

Fellow 2024 hopeful and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) took aim with a killer parody of Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genuis” ad series of the early 2000s. In it, he shows a series of trans-identifying athletes like Lia Thomas with a stinging voiceover: “Once mediocre in the men’s division, now cream of the crop in the women’s. You couldn’t cut it with the boys, so you pushed women off the podium. Because without you, sports would be fair. Without you, women’s sports would be for, well, women.”

And instead of walking back the deal that has country musicians shooting cases of his beer and smashing cans on stage, Whitworth released a nothing burger statement about “never intend[ing] to be a part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.” Ironically, that is something the company managed to accomplish, as a clear majority unite around the decision not to support the brand.

When Rasmussen asked Americans about the debacle this week, more than half (54%) said they supported boycotting Anheuser-Busch. Only 30% were opposed, and 16% were unsure. “…[I]t’s pretty clear they stepped in a hornets’ nest,” Rasmussen’s Mark Mitchell said.

Meanwhile, almost comically, Democrats set out to prove that a beer that shills for transgenderism is just fine with them. In what many are calling the “most cringe” photo op ever, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Mark Takanko (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) forced a picture where all of them are enjoying conveniently posed Bud Lights. As candids go, it was a bust. “How convenient that all of the labels are facing the camera,” The Daily Caller’s Kay Smythe jabbed. It’s also “so strange that no one is talking but everyone is smiling.” And “why is there literally no one else in the photo? Oh, because it’s staged, of course!” she mocked.

Of course, Democrats have been willing sycophants of this transgender absurdity since day one. Republicans, if they’re smart, will stay on course, leaning into the outrage of the American people. This idea that the GOP and groups like the National Republican Congressional Committee should back off their attacks, when the American people are with them, is ludicrous. So what if the company is a major donor? If April’s freefall is any indication, they won’t have much money to give.

As the GOP’s conquering hero of corporate activism urged, no conservative should be lifting a finger to help Bud Light. “I mean, honestly,” DeSantis said, “that’s like them rubbing our faces in it. And… [if] these companies that do this, if they never have any response, they’re just gonna keep doing it.” This is not a one-off, he argued. “[I]t’s part of a larger thing where corporate America is trying to change our country, trying to change policy, trying to change culture. You know, I’d rather be governed by ‘We the people’ than woke companies. So I think pushback is in order across the board.”

Family Research Council’s Meg Kilgannon agreed. On “Washington Watch” Monday, she insisted that the only way corporate America will quit “marching to the beat of the leftist drum” is if “we make it hard on their bottom line. And if we don’t continue this pressure, then [that will be] difficult.”

Anheuser-Busch’s latest ad ended by saying, “This is a story that’s bigger than beer.” The same could be said here. As FRC President Tony Perkins pointed out on “Washington Watch,” “…[C]orporate America has become intoxicated with this woke agenda. … It impacts the Anheuser-Busch Corporation and all the other corporations [watching] this happening. So they have to take note. … In this case, it would be good for people to fall off the Budweiser wagon.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

San Francisco Cries Uncle on Seven-Year Boycott of Red States

When San Francisco decided to boycott the country’s red states, they were hoping it would have an economic impact. Trouble is, it did. Just not on conservatives. For seven years, the city has stubbornly clung to its travel bans and contracting blackouts for states with sane policies on life and gender — only to find out that the side paying the biggest price is their own.

In the latest sign that Republicans are winning the woke wars, city officials are quietly trying to walk back their petty payback of conservative states who’ve passed laws protecting the unborn, election integrity, girls’ sports, and privacy. At a city meeting February 13, leaders poured over a new report about the effects of the boycott policy, known as 12X, from the last several years. In a damning assessment, San Francisco’s City Administrator’s Office (CAO) said it was “not able to find concrete evidence suggesting 12X has influenced other states’ economies, or LGBTQ, reproductive, or voting rights.”

On the contrary, the authors wrote, “12X has created [an] additional administrative burden for City staff and vendors and unintended consequences for San Francisco citizens. … Few, if any other jurisdictions implement travel or contracting bans as expensive as the City’s.”

By refusing to outsource or partner with red states, San Francisco’s contracting costs went through the roof — up 10-20% just over the past few years. “It’s an ineffective policy that complicates the business of San Francisco government,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelmanm insisted, “and makes it very likely that we pay more than we should for goods and services.”

In a state where residents are already running for the exits, the last thing cities should be doing is giving people another excuse to leave. And a 20% surcharge for San Francisco’s intolerance is just one in a long line of absurdities. Since COVID, the moving vans have been in a perpetual, one-way convoy out of California, as 508,903 people called it quits on the state with sky-high costs, crime, taxes, and regulation.

This latest revelation, that even the city’s cultural retaliation is a failure, will only push more locals to the brink. A whopping 30 states are on San Francisco’s official blacklist now (up from eight in 2016), making it virtually impossible for the city to conduct national business. If the idea was to create a “compelling deterrent to states considering [conservative] policies,” COA admitted, it failed. In the game of chicken between deep-blue California and the rest of America, San Francisco is blinking. More than one official has said they’re moving to either strike the seven-year-old policy or, at the very least, repeal the most onerous parts of it.

That’s a major coup in California where the radical dogma is thicker than smog. But then, this isn’t the first time the forces of wokeness have been backed into an embarrassing corner. Ever since 2016, when North Carolina became ground zero in the bathroom wars, Democrats have been eating crow. One of the Left’s biggest lies — which they repeat to this day — is that passing pro-family laws will cost states billions of dollars in business. The opposite is almost always true.

For all of the Left’s hyperventilating, the aftermath of the H.B. 2 debate was nothing like the Chicken Littles predicted. North Carolina’s tourism numbers broke records; its population grew faster than any state in the union; and the state’s GDP was even higher than the national average. The booming economic climate even caught Forbes’s attention, who ranked the Tar Heels the second best state for doing business that year, a title it won the next three: 20172018, and 2019. Suddenly, the tough talk about retaliation from corporations and other organizations was being exposed for what it was: empty threats from big-mouthed bullies.

Bruce SpringsteenPearl JamNick Jonas, and Demi Lovato and other musicians did their typical chest-thumping, pulling out of tour stops in places like Raleigh over their insistence that men be allowed into girls’ restrooms — but at the end of the day, the financial damage was small enough to be considered a “rounding error.” Experts crunched the numbers and found that “concerts, conventions, and sports” don’t actually bring much to the table in terms of state revenue. “Let’s suppose you buy some tickets, and you pay $100 per ticket,” John Connaughton, a professor of economics, explained. “Well, $80, $90 of that ticket gets on the bus and leaves with the performer the next day. Or later that night.”

College sports promised more of the same when the fight over girls’ sports and kids’ gender transitions broke out a few years later. “The NCAA threatened states over anti-transgender bills,” the big print of The Washington Post read. “But the games went on.” All of the tough talk proved toothless when so many states passed conservative legislation that NCAA had nowhere left to go. Suddenly, tournaments that weren’t supposed to be awarded to places like Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee got the news that they would still be hosts after all.

“I guess the NCAA boycott of Florida is over after two weeks,” state Rep. Chris Latvala tweeted. Turns out, the tug of the Left may be strong, but so is the $730 million in revenue from the Southeastern Conference. Conservative influence as red states, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) pointed out, is bigger than we think. “Will they even be able to have sports events anymore in the United States [if they boycott us]? I don’t think so.”

And who could forget Hollywood, who, after Alabama and Georgia passed their strongest pro-life laws in 2019, vowed to take their filmmaking elsewhere? It was all very theatrical when Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, and Sony Pictures started shaking their fists at red states and making hollow threats about canceling productions. For most conservatives, it was a familiar scene. After all, the entertainment industry had been using the same script since North Carolina, when celebrities climbed on their moral high horses to browbeat voters who believe in biological gender.

They would be reevaluating their projects, Disney’s Bob Iger promised at the time. “We are watching it very carefully,” he reassured his allies. In the end, most CEOs’ posturing amounted to nothing. Even when California tried to dangle new tax breaks over producers — “Move your film to a state with a better appreciation for killing babies!” they seemed to say — the modest incentives were still offset by the state’s suffocating regulations and higher costs. Deep down, even Hollywood understood: they stand to punish themselves more than the locations they theatened to leave.

“It speaks to the unsustainability of the Left’s wokeness,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Washington Stand. “They’re painting themselves in a corner.”

He’s right. Ultimately, these stunts hurt the social extremists more than they’ll ever scare conservatives, especially in this refuse-to-be-intimidated era sponsored by governors Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.).

FRC Action Vice President Brent Keilen agreed. “The move by San Francisco is the latest example that, despite receiving a lot of attention from the media, boycotts of pro-family and pro-life states don’t have much of an impact.”

In today’s climate, even San Francisco’s giants of liberalism are coming to the realization: the biggest losers of the culture wars will always be the bullies.


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.