Brendan Whitworth, chief executive of Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, distanced the company from Mulvaney, saying in the days after the backlash that he «never intended to be part of a discussion that would divide people.» . About a week later, Anheuser-Busch confirmed media reports that two of the marketing executives who worked on the campaign would be absent.

Drennen said that part of what is allowing Walsh to gain traction is his increased national recognition in efforts to restrict transition-related health care for minors. In February, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves invited Walsh to speak before Reeves signed a bill to ban transition-related care for minors in the state. Earlier that month, NBC News reported that Walsh’s defense also played a role in Tennessee’s decision to reject more than $8 million in federal funding to fight HIV.

“This is all a coordinated attempt to make it untenable to be specifically trans in public,” Drennen said. “And one of the ways that they have tried to do this is by removing any kind of political support, any kind of corporate support, basically making it untenable to be an ally of the trans community. And I think that’s the real connective tissue between these.»

she added that Fox News covered a new North Face campaign which featured drag performer Pattie Gonia during a segment on Wednesday. On Thursday, conservative commentator Candace Owens announced during her daily cable show that, because of the campaign, «there will be nothing in my house that is North Face.»

Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications, a firm specializing in LGBTQ marketing, said that while the controversies surrounding Bud Light and Target were «created» by a small number of people, they were amplified by social media and some media outlets. .

“Kerosene just takes you so much further today,” Witeck said of how controversies sparked by a small number of people spread more quickly. He added that the conservative response to Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney campaign was sparked, in part, by by commentator Ben Shapiro, and then picked up by other right-wing voices and news. Shapiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Conversations about LGBTQ people, at a time when LGBTQ issues are more visible than ever, «are quickly skewed,» he said. Witeck added that LGBTQ advocates are likely to continue to file legal challenges against anti-LGBTQ laws because they violate the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, a 2020 ruling holding that gay and transgender employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. of 1964. The decision galvanized many grassroots conservative activists.

“Trans people have been dehumanized, people define them in political terms that are dehumanizing, so it makes it much easier for these media influencers to line those things up in front of people,” she said of the backlash to Target and Bud Light, even though «these are not the issues that motivate them in their lives.»

Laurel Powell, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the US, said that «far-right extremists see an opportunity,» which is why there has been a more intense response from curators to Target’s Pride Month collection. , For example.

“We are emerging from the most hostile and dangerous state legislative season when it comes to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation,” Powell said. “We are in a country right now where one of our main social networks has essentially become a far-right platform. They see an opportunity, and what they are going to discover is that they are out of step with the majority of Americans; they are out of step with the vast majority of people who believe that LGBTQ+ people should be able to live lives free from discrimination.”

In 2016, a host of major corporations, including American Airlines, Apple, Microsoft, eBay, and Nike, signed an amicus brief supporting the Justice Department’s efforts to block North Carolina’s «bathroom bill,» which prohibited trans people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificate.

Seven years later, the american public and US-based companies have only become more accepting of LGBTQ people, the latter both through their internal policies and through public marketing campaigns. However, Witeck said the difference between then and now is that lawmakers have proposed nearly 500 bills to restrict LGBTQ rights in dozens of states.

“In 2016, only one state was doing something new that other states weren’t doing,” Witeck said. Taking a position on even 10 of the proposed bills this year would be challenging, «and most of the big corporations are headquartered in all of those states.»

Witeck said he hopes this year’s Pride Month will be «militant» because LGBTQ people are anxious and concerned.

“The corporate alliance will be tested like never before,” he said. «Allies have to be really prepared to grow thorns, to really stand up for their values.»

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