Anheuser-Busch is planning to lay off hundreds of employees months after gaining attention for a partnership with a trans influencer, which garnered backlash from some customers, according to multiple reports.
Scripps News has yet to confirm the layoffs independently.
The Wall Street Journal reported the layoffs would affect about 2% of its 18,000-person workforce.
“While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,” Anheuser-Busch Chief Executive Brendan Whitworth said in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal. “These corporate structure changes will enable our teams to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone.”
It is unclear whether the layoffs were caused by the partnership as Anheuser-Busch's stock value has been on an overall decline for several years.
The company's stock value peaked at $120 in 2015 and 2016, but generally has fallen since. Its stock is now worth about half as much as it was seven years ago.
The company was criticized by some for its partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer. Mulvaney posted a sponsored video on Instagram in April touting the beer.
The partnership was panned in right-wing circles, which have been targeting transgender rights. Days after Mulvaney posted her video, Kid Rock posted his own video on social media. It featured him with a high-powered rifle shooting at cans of Bud Light.
Then last month came news that Bud Light is no longer the No. 1-selling beer in the U.S., as it was replaced by Modelo Especial. The Mexican lager had the most U.S. retail beer sales in the month that ended on June 3, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Bump Williams, making up 8.4% of sales, while Bud Light fell to second with 7.3%.
Anheuser-Busch also took criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates who say businesses should "reject and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism."
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com