Bud Light capped a disastrous sales-and-marketing year by taking the dubious honor of “Worst of the Woke,” an annual title bestowed on companies and institutions that exemplify “woke culture gone wild.”
The right-tilting New Tolerance Campaign gave the Anheuser-Busch brand top honors in its third annual recognition of the “10 worst woke offenders,” citing its disastrous partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that saw Bud Light lose the title of America’s bestselling beer, which it had held for decades.
“Bud Light’s core customer base felt abandoned, and in turn they abandoned the brand,” said the campaign in its Wednesday release. “A sustained boycott led to sales falling a whopping 17%.”
The organization also recognized Stanford Law School as its “2023 Champion of Tolerance,” citing then-Dean Jenny Martinez’s condemnation of student protesters who shouted down U.S. District Judge Kyle Duncan at his March speech.
She declined to discipline the protesters, but implemented mandatory free-speech training for all students.
“In an age where ‘cancel culture’ advocates number too many and defenders of viewpoint diversity too few, Dean Martinez stood out from the crowd with a courageous, principled, and forceful commitment to the Stanford Law’s stated values,” said the NTC press release.
Joining Bud Light on the “worst of the woke” list were Target, Bank of America, the Academy Awards, Country Music Television, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Puffin Books, Amazon, the Morningstar investment firm, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What the honorees had in common was that all experienced a “backlash from fed-up consumers,” said the campaign.
“In 2023, mainstream institutions leveraged everything from books to beer to promote their woke agendas,” said NTC President Gregory T. Angelo.
“However, this year saw a tidal wave of consumers using their wallets and voices to push back against the woke mob, with staggering results. Americans looking for a New Year’s resolution should pledge to keep fighting back against the woke invasion of our country,” he said.
The Bud Light case illustrated the perils for companies wading into politics.
After an impromptu consumer boycott, Anheuser-Busch executives sought to backtrack, only to be upbraided then by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.
The HRC “stripped the company of its 100% rating as a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality,’” said the release. “Anheuser-Busch’s attempt at virtue signaling made them everyone’s enemy. Will the brand ever recover?”
Same with the Dodgers, which invited, then uninvited, then reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a troupe of drag-queen nuns known for mocking Catholicism, to receive the team’s Community Hero Award on Pride Night.
Pro-Catholic demonstrators gathered outside the stadium ahead of the game for a procession. The team’s decision was also condemned by Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez and other church leaders.
“In attempting to please everyone, the Dodgers angered fans on all sides,” said the NTC statement.
NTC unveils 2023 #WorstOfTheWoke awards — a look back at 2023’s most vivid examples of institutions that egregiously waded into politics at the expense of their principles. See the full list — and our 2023 “Champion of Tolerance” — at the link below:https://t.co/wMpFEATBx1
— New Tolerance Campaign (@New_Tolerance) December 27, 2023
Founded in 2019, the New Tolerance Campaign was relaunched in 2021 by Mr. Angelo, who served in the Trump administration, as a “watchdog organization mobilizing Americans to confront intolerance double-standards by establishment institutions.”
In April, he issued a mea culpa for his past efforts to engage corporations in political causes, such as supporting anti-discrimination legislation, as president of the gay Log Cabin Republicans group from 2013 to 2018.
“The trend I helped begin, I now realize, was a disaster,” said Mr. Angelo in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “In the past three years, major U.S. corporations have weighed in on everything from abortion and Black Lives Matter to election laws — even as the American public overwhelmingly wishes they wouldn’t.”
The campaign partnered last year with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression in urging Emerson College in Boston to select a pro-free speech president.