Table of Contents
Miller Lite maker Molson Coors defended a months-old commercial featuring actress Ilana Glazer criticizing the sexist history of beer advertising after it came under fire from conservative commentators and social media users—in an echo from Bud Light’s recent controversy—saying there’s nothing “remotely controversial” about it.
Miller Lite unveiled a Women’s History Month commercial in March, in which Glazer praises women’s contributions to beer brewing and criticizes beer companies, including Miller Lite, for “sexist” advertisements, including ads that featured women in bikinis.
Glazer’s humorous commercial announced the launch of Miller Lite’s Bad $#!T to Good $#!T ad campaign, in which the company committed to collecting outdated ads and posters it deems sexist to compost them into fertilizer so that more beer can be brewed.
Controversy over the two-month-old commercial broke out among conservatives on social media this week, with many flooding the comments of Miller Lite’s Twitter and Instagram posts slamming the company as “woke” and calling for a boycott.
The Miller Lite controversy has drawn many comparisons to Bud Light’s partnership with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, which unleashed outrage directed toward both Mulvaney and the beer brand and caused a dip in sales.
On Miller Lite’s YouTube, the commercial has 2.6 million views and is flooded with critical comments, but it is unlisted (meaning it cannot be searched for), and the link that once led to the advertising campaign on Miller Lite’s website has seemingly been taken down and now redirects to the homepage.
Miller Lite has come under fire for ads deemed sexist in the past, notably for its controversial “Catfight” ad from 2003 in which two women tear off each other’s clothes after arguing over whether the beer tastes good or is less filling—but the fight is revealed to be the fantasy of two men sitting at a bar.
Bernstein analysts led by Nadine Sarwat wrote in a Wednesday note to clients it’s too early to tell whether the Miller Lite controversy will have a “Bud Light-sized impact,” though they’re watching whether Miller Lite will be “next in the hot seat.”
In a statement issued to Forbes, Molson Coors wrote: “This video was about two things: worm poop and saying women shouldn’t be forced to mud wrestle in order to sell beer. Neither of these things should be remotely controversial and we hope beer drinkers can appreciate the humor (and ridiculousness) of this video from back in March.”
Controversial podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan criticized the Miller Lite commercial on Tuesday’s episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. He criticized “identity politics,” arguing the gender of beer brewers doesn’t matter and running ads with bikini-clad women is no different than using shirtless men. “Human beings made beer, and some human beings look good in bikinis,” Rogan said. Ben Shapiro posted a YouTube video Tuesday night calling the ad campaign “unbelievably stupid,” blasting Miller Lite for being out of touch with its consumer base. On The Megyn Kelly Show on Tuesday, Kelly spoke with hosts of The Fifth Column podcast, Kmele Foster, Matt Welch and Michael Moynihan, ridiculing and joking about the Miller Lite ad and criticizing their “woke” approach. “Now they believe that to interest us, they have to yell at us to lecture us about how bad America has been,” Moynihan said. Some on social media targeted Glazer for her appearance in the ad. Benny Johnson, the former BuzzFeed reporter fired for plagiarism and host of The Benny Show, tweeted a picture of Glazer posing with Hillary Clinton, blasting Miller Lite for choosing her “to be the face of their working-class beer brand.” Some circulated an old interview clip of Glazer on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Twitter, where Glazer praises Colbert as “the good version” of a white man, alleging she sounds “racist.”
The Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi defended the commercial in a column Wednesday morning, criticizing both the Miller Lite and Bud Light controversies as a “targeted harassment and intimidation campaign.” She cited how some outraged social media users dug up personal information of Bud Light marketing executive Alissa Heinerscheid and are repeating the same tactics with Molson Coors chief marketing officer Sofia Colucci, who has reportedly deleted her social media accounts. “What is essentially an extremely belabored poop joke has incensed conservatives who are now calling for a boycott of Miller Lite,” Mahdawi wrote. Molson Coors chief communications officer Adam Collins criticized the harassment of company employees in a statement to Newsweek: “People can take issue with our ads or our brands, but we won’t stand by as people personally attack our employees—especially given that these are company decisions, and are never made by one single person.”
Miller Lite’s ad has drawn many comparisons to the controversy that engulfed Bud Light after it sent a customized beer can in April to Dylan Mulvaney, a TikTok star with 10.8 million followers known for documenting her gender transition. Far-right pundits including Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro targeted Mulvaney on the basis of her identity, and some outraged customers announced a boycott of the popular beer. Kid Rock went viral for a video posted on his social media accounts depicting the musician shooting cans of Bud Light and yelling profanities about the beer and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch. After weeks of online furor, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth posted a statement to Instagram on April 14 stating the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people” and affirming its mission to bring “great beers to consumers across our nation,” without explicitly naming Mulvaney or the controversy. The boycott appeared to cause sales to sink: Bud Light retail sales in the United States were down 21.4% in the week ending April 22 compared to the year prior.
How Trans TikTok Star Dylan Mulvaney Became A Far-Right Target After Scoring Deals With Bud Light And Nike (Forbes)
Country Music Takes Sides On Trans Issues And Drag Shows: Reba, Kid Rock, Shania And More Weigh In (Forbes)
Women drinking beer clothed: why are rightwingers melting down over Miller Lite? (The Guardian)