Human Rights Campaign has reportedly suspended its “top LGBTQ+” rating for Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), pointing to the brewer’s “shameful response” to the backlash controversy over Bud Light and Dylan Mulvaney.

AdAge reported the decision by the US LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Human Rights Campaign says it measures the policies, practices and benefits to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees with its Corporate Equality Index.

Last month, a sponsored post on Mulvaney’s Instagram page showcased special-edition Bud Light beers featuring her face, which she said the company sent to mark her one-year anniversary since transitioning.

The sponsored post on 1 April was part of a promotion for the AB InBev brand’s March Madness competition.

But the partnership was followed by calls to boycott the brand and backlash from US conservatives. US singer Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting at Bud Light cans while Donald Trump’s former presidential campaign manager Seth Weathers launched a “woke-free beer” called Ultra Right. Several Budweiser factories also reportedly received bomb threats.

In response, AB InBev said it “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people”.

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Brendan Whitworth, the CEO of AB InBev’s Anheuser-Busch subsidiary, posted a statement on the company’s Twitter page on Friday (14 April) titled Our Responsibility To America, in which he said AB InBev was “honoured to be part of the fabric of this country”.

While the statement did not directly address the advert, Whitworth said: “We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

The brewer also offered financial support to its US wholesalers, many of which claim they have borne the brunt of public backlash and boycotting of the brand.

“This situation has impacted our people, especially our frontline workers, the delivery drivers, sales representatives, our wholesalers, bar owners and servers,” global CEO Michel Doukeris said on 3 May. “We’ve been doing everything we can to support our teams, ensuring they are safe continuing to brew, package and – together with our wholesalers – deliver great beer to the market.”

At the time, Doukeris also said it was too early for the brewer to understand the full impact of the backlash – resulting from its sending of a custom canto transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney – on its US business.

He admitted, however, there had been “some spillover” that was impacting sales of other AB InBev brands in the US.