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Despite Boycotts And Losses, Bud Light And Target Are Backing Pride Events

Many other retail giants are also sticking to their decision to celebrate pride month while battling negative publicity.
UPDATED AUG 24, 2023
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Despite facing fire for their campaigns designed around the LGBTQ community, Target and Bud Light have gone ahead with their pride month events. The two brands have been fighting negative publicity amid sweeping calls for their boycott.

The retail chain, Target, and Anheuser-Busch, which is Bud Light's parent company, faced public ire while trying to appeal to the LGBTQ community. 

The two companies are not giving in as they continue to celebrate the pride month. Target is a platinum sponsor of NYC Pride, which has a $175,000 donation, and Anheuser-Busch is a sponsor of Pride celebrations in Chicago, as per NY Post.

Several other retail giants are also sticking to their decision to celebrate pride month. These companies include PepsiCo, Starbucks, General Motors, and Jeep parent Stellantis. All these companies have been supporting the LGBTQ community for decades, and they have no plans to stop now.

Target recently found itself in the middle of a controversy when its Pride displays were tipped over by infuriated customers who also threatened their staff in the stores. The stores were forced to remove some of the items. 

Bud Light's parent company, Anheuser-Busch, has faced financial challenges due to boycotts after partnering with TikToker Dylan Mulvaney to commemorate "365 days of girlhood". The decision to send customized Bud Light cans featuring Mulvaney's face sparked controversy and led to a significant backlash on social media.

Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Transgender representation has come a long way and it's unfortunate to say that we still have to discuss the negative reception that these brands get.

“Including our community in marketing is nothing new, but what is new is the extreme right-wing politicization of a company’s creative and business decisions,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the NGO Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement to TIME

Getty Images |  Ezra Acayan
Getty Images | Ezra Acayan

Companies like Gillette, Citi and Pantene have all made headlines at some time or the other for hiring trans actors and supporting the cause. However, as conservative views persist, progressive companies face immense backlash for the representation of LGBTQ.

Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch, addressed the boycott and controversy in his statement in which he emphasized that the company never intended to be part of a divisive discussion and reiterated its commitment to bringing people together over a beer. 

In early March, Twitter was flooded with demands to boycott Hershey's after its chocolate bar wrappers featured a transgender woman for its International Women's Day campaign. Here's what they said in response. "We value togetherness and recognize the strength created by diversity. Over the past three years, our Women's History Month Programming has been an inclusive celebration of women and their impact. We appreciate the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts," the company said.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

In the month of May, Bud Light's sales went down by 23%. Target's shares on the other hand have plunged 20% since May, bringing the market value down by $15 billion. Target also receives bombing threats and is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of its workers. On the other hand, many people from the LGBTQ community are also distancing themselves from the brands as they felt their efforts weren't fruitful enough.

"The fact that a small group of extremists is threatening disgusting and harsh violence in response to Target continuing its long-standing tradition of offering products for everyone should be a wake-up call for consumers and is a reminder that LGBTQ people, venues, and events are being attacked with threats and violence like never before,” said Ellis in a written statement.