“American Badass” singer Kid Rock said he had a conversation with the Anheuser-Busch CEO about the Bud Light boycott that has cost the company billions.
During their talk, which happened at a recent UFC fight, the rocker, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, explained why he initially became the celebrity face of the boycott, which he now opposes.
In April, Bud Light stirred controversy when it partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney and commemorated the influencer’s “365 Days of Girlhood” with a custom can featuring Mulvaney’s likeness.
Shortly after, Rock showed the company what he thought about the partnership by shooting cases of Bud Light with an automatic weapon.
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 16, 2023
“F**k Bud Light and f**k Anheuser-Busch,” he said in a video he took of the action and posted to X, formerly Twitter.
Last weekend, during UFC 295 in New York City, Rock was seen attending the event alongside former President Donald Trump, UFC CEO Dana White, and Tucker Carlson.
It was during the MMA event, held at Madison Square Garden, that Rock claims to have approached the CEO of Anheuser-Busch.
Rock recounted the incident during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
“I’m standing there with our favorite president, and someone comes over, like, ‘The CEO of Anheuser-Busch is standing right behind you,’” he recalled.
“So I go over to POTUS. I’m like, ‘Hey, that’s the CEO of Anheuser-Busch.’ Trump’s like, ‘You wanna go talk to him?’ I’m like, … ‘I do.'”
— KidRock (@KidRock) April 4, 2023
According to reports, Rock engaged in a discussion with AB InBev CEO Michel Doukeris at the event.
Rock told Hannity that the three “actually had a great conversation” about what sparked the boycott.
“Because if you put this in context, why did this start? It’s like … I told him that night, ‘You signaled to a lot of people like myself, like-minded people … put the trans thing aside for a minute, right,” Rock began.
“But by sending that can to the trans kid, you kind of signaled to us you support this lifestyle.’”
He noted that “more importantly,” he believes that the supporting the transgender “lifestyle” means accepting “men being in women’s sports.”
“They’re in my granddaughter’s locker room,” he pointed out. “Most of us draw a hard line right there.”
Rock made it clear that he had never actually advocated for a Bud Light boycott due to the potential negative impact on regular people.
“As a conservative — more importantly a patriot — I don’t want to be in the party of cancel cultures and boycotts that ultimately hurt working class people that have no dogs especially in this fight,” he told Hannity.
“I know people that work there, and it’s not so cool to be wearing around that blue shirt anymore, going places,” he explained.
“This is why they have a problem right now. It’s like, I can let the thing go.”
Declaring himself a “God-fearing man” and a Christian, the rock star advocated for forgiveness, stating, “They made a mistake, all right. What do you want, to hold their head under water and drown them and kill people’s jobs? I don’t want to do that.”
Despite his stance, the “Devil Without A Cause” singer isn’t about to encourage his fans to start buying the ailing brand.
“I don’t want to be their biggest cheerleader,” Rock stated. “I want them to show me something to get me back as a consumer, as a drinker.”
Bud Light could certainly use an advocate, sales in the week of June 24 dropped by 28%, while competitors like Miller Light and Coors Lite gained in market share.
On Thursday, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. chief marketing officer Benoit Garbe will leave the company as a result of the Mulvaney controversy.
“These senior leadership changes will accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best — brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.