ST. LOUIS — TMZ host Harvey Levin and Anheuser-Busch beer heir Billy Busch got into a heated discussion over the Bud Light controversy Friday. Busch said that people did not want to drink beer associated with a transgender person on the can. Levin argued that the motivation behind the boycott is prejudice.
Busch is on a publicity tour for his new book Family Reigns: The Extraordinary Rise and Epic Fall of an American Dynasty. It is a firsthand account of the renowned beer family’s history, from its inception, to its remarkable growth, and to the eventual sale of the company.
The interview took an unexpected turn when host Harvey Levin asked him about the controversy over Bud Light. The beer brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, lost billions in market value after a brief partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
“I think my family, my ancestors, would be rolling over in their grave. They were very patriotic. They loved this country and what it stood for. They believed that transgender, gays, that sort of thing, was all a very personal issue. They loved this country because it is a free country and people are allowed to do what they want. But it was never meant to be on a beer can and never meant to be pushed into people’s faces,” said Busch.
The TMZ hosts explained that the motivation behind the campaign was clearly inclusiveness. They asked Busch what the reaction to a viral Instagram post at the heart of the controversy was all about.
“You know, I think people who drink beer, I think they’re your your common folk. I think they are the blue collar worker who goes and works hard every single day. The last thing they want to be drinking is a beer can with with that kind of message on it. I just don’t think that’s that’s what they’re looking for. They want their beer to be truly American, truly patriotic, as it always has been. Truly, America’s beer, which Bud Light was and probably isn’t any longer,” said Busch.
Why are people boycotting Bud Light? TMZ host Harvey Levin said this to Busch.
“Absolutely it’s prejudice. Look, I remember my dad telling me stories that there were bars in LA that used to have signs that said, ‘No dogs, no Jews.’ So there’s been a history of prejudice in the country. People get over certain things. It’s happened to Jews. It’s happened to Black people. It’s happening to gay people, and it’s happening to Transgender people. So to me, it is absolutely prejudice,” said Levin.
“Well, I just think prejudice against Jews against Black people, those kinds of things are a totally different deal,” said Busch.
The brewing giant this week said it plans to lay off hundreds of U.S. corporate employees in an announcement that was celebrated by conservative leaders who have voiced opposition to Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney and the expansion of transgender rights more broadly. The company did not mention Mulvaney or the ongoing controversy in its announcement.