Anheuser-Busch to lay off hundreds of workers after Bud Light boycott hammers sales


(NEW YORK) — Anheuser-Busch plans to lay off hundreds of corporate employees, a company spokesperson told ABC News on Thursday.

The layoffs come months after a product endorsement from Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer, in April set off a consumer boycott among conservatives that hammered sales.

The layoffs will affect “less than 2%” of the company’s U.S. employees, the company said. That figure amounts to roughly 380 workers, since the company’s website says it employs a total of about 19,000 U.S.-based workers.

The layoffs will affect workers “across every corporate function” but will not impact frontline workers, such as warehouse staff, drivers and salespeople, the company spokesperson said.

“Today we took the very difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a number of positions across our corporate organization,” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in a statement to ABC News. “While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success.”

The layoffs were originally reported by CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

Sales of Bud Light across the U.S. fell for at least six weeks after the start of the boycott, according to data from Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen NIQ reviewed by ABC News. For instance, sales dropped nearly 26% over the week ending on May 20, the data showed.

Last month, Modelo overtook Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S.

The stock price of Anheuser-Busch InBev has fallen nearly 12% since the start of the boycott in early April. Over that period, the S&P 500 has risen by nearly 12%.

In response to declining sales, the company provided financial support for tens of thousands of frontline workers at independent distributors, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said on an earnings call in May.

After the initial boycott, Anheuser-Busch InBev posted a statement in April from CEO Brendan Whitworth on its website.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” Whitworth said. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

The company placed two executives who oversaw the endorsement of Mulvaney’s Instagram post on leave, the Wall Street Journal reported in April.

The response drew sharp criticism from some LGBTQ advocates who considered it a capitulation to the backlash. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, suspended the company’s Corporate Equality Index score, USA Today reported. Previously, the company scored 100, the top rating.

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