Dylan Mulvaney returned to Instagram for the first time since the massive backlash over her partnership with Bud Light. The 26-year-old transgender celebrity sparked outrage among critics after being chosen as a representative for the beer brand in a March Madness sweepstakes and has since avoided Instagram and other social media platforms.
Mulvaney shared on Instagram on Thursday the reason she had been "offline for a few weeks" as the outcry over the brand agreement grew. Bud Light saw its sales plummet more than 17% in less than a month, while it lost $6 billion in market value following its controversial partnership with Mulvaney.
Mulvaney pledged to continue posting content in the near term and also explained the reason behind her absence. "A lot has been said about me," she said in a video clip shared with her 1.8 million followers on the platform.
"Some of which is so far from my truth that I was hearing my name and I didn't know who they were talking about sometimes.
"It was so loud that I didn't even feel part of the conversation so I decided to take the backseat."
The company has largely kept quiet since the social media influencer celebrated her first year as a woman on April 1 by drinking Bud Light and showing off a commemorative can with her image on it
Shares of Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, plummeted and two executives were put on leave following a customer boycott of the brand. Industry estimates indicate that Bud Light sales at bars, restaurants, and other establishments plunged by about 34.7 percent in the weeks following the announcement of the partnership with Mulvaney.
Several restaurants and bars have stopped serving the beer brand altogether.
Mulvaney said she's "doing OK," but noted that being called "too feminine and over the top" makes her feel like when she was a child.
"But this time it's from other adults," she said. "And if they're going to accuse me of anything it should be that I'm a theater person and that I'm camp. But this is just my personality and it always has been."
"What I'm struggling to understand is the need to dehumanize and to be cruel. Dehumanization has never fixed anything in history," said Mulvaney, who revealed her transition in a TikTok video in March 2022.
"I grew up in a conservative family and I'm extremely privileged because they still love me very much. And I grew up in the church and I still have my faith, which I am really trying to hold on to right now" she said, adding that she's "always tried to love everyone, even the people that make it really, really hard."
Changing Her Focus
Mulvaney stated in the post—without mentioning Bud Light—that she is refocusing on the individuals "who know me and my heart [and] won't listen to that noise."
In the three-and-half-minute video she also said that she will continue posting but would try to avoid controversy "I don't know if reincarnation is a thing, but in my next life, I would love to be someone non-confrontational and uncontroversial," she said.
Mulvaney said she was 'worried' fans would 'start believing' her critics but said: "I'm just going to go ahead and trust that the people who know me and my heart won't listen to that noise.
"What I'm interested in is getting back to making people laugh, and to never stop learning. And going forward.
"I want to share parts of myself on here that have nothing to do with my identity. And I'm hoping those parts will still be exciting to you and will be enough."
Kid Rock spearheaded the backlash to the Bud Light partnership by posting a furious video of himself using an automatic gun to shoot a case of the beer. The performer, who was sporting a MAGA hat, yelled, "F*** Bud Light, and f*** Anheuser-Busch. Have a terrific day," saying he wanted to make his point "clear and concise."
Conservative lawmakers and celebrities joined in the uproar on social media, sharing their disapproval of the partnership.
Days later, Mulvaney stirred up more controversy by announcing a collaboration with Nike to market its women's apparel. Leading athletes were upset by that promotion, which featured videos of Mulvaney exercising while wearing a sports bra and leggings.