Bud Light faced a massive backlash from some conservative beer buyers after the brand engaged in a social media promotion with transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The promotion, an Instagram contest where Mulvaney addressed the one-year anniversary of her transition, most famously led to one-time rock star Kid Rock using a semi-automatic rifle to shoot bullets at cases of Bud Light.
The Anheuser-Busch (BUD) – Get Free Report brand found itself in a position where a relatively small promotion gave a part of its core audience a reason to boycott the brand. And, while the Mulvaney promotion might have been a tiny piece of the company’s marketing budget, it became a political foil for conservatives looking to charge brands with being “woke” and pushing political agendas.
Anheuser-Busch has not been the only target of politicians, right-wing activists, social media agitators, and aging musicians looking to paint companies with the “woke” brush. Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report has faced a similar backlash over its stated opposition to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t say gay” bill.
In this case, DeSantis has openly retaliated against Disney putting the special district (one of thousands of such districts in Florida) under the control of his political allies. That led to multiple lawsuits from both sides and Disney CEO Bob Iger openly questioning whether DeSantis wants his state to have the $17 billion Disney plans to spend there on new projects over the next decade.
Image source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Target Faces a Woke Backlash (Again)
Target has been down this road before. In 2016, the retailer faced boycotts over its policy to let customers use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, not the one that matches their birth gender. The chain also added single-person bathrooms to its stores, but did not change its policy on its gendered bathrooms continuing to allow customers to use the restroom that matches how they identify.
Now, #BoycottTarget trended on Twitter May 17 after videos were posted by a number of Twitter accounts showing children’s merchandise carrying inclusive LGBTQ+ messages and using images like the Rainbow Flag, which is “widely used as a positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community,” according to History.com.
“A reason I no longer shop at Target! They’re coming for your children!! Leave kids alone!! LBGTQ should not be “targeting” kids, but they are! It’s not cute!! It’s ridiculous! #BoycottTarget,” Twitter user @NowPammsy posted.
A similar post from conservative online talk show host Matt Walsh cited a Daily Caller story which shared the contents of Target’s 2023 “Pride Collection,” noting that it “includes baby clothes with LGBT themes.”
“Bien Proud” reads one onesie, which comes in sizes as low as zero to three months. Another onesie features LGBT rainbows and hearts with the color of the transgender pride flag. The collection also features rainbow socks in kid’s sizes.
The collection also features pride themed family outfits. Target is selling LGBT books targeting children, such as “Bye-bye Binary,” about a baby who doesn’t get put “in a pink or blue corner,” and “What Are Your Words,” a book that instructs children on how to use preferred pronouns. Some clothing also features drag queens.
Target’s message of inclusivity, and specifically it offering that message on products aimed at kids led to the social media backlash and the calls for a boycott.
The retailer has not Tweeted since January and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.