Budweiser UK on Friday celebrated 38 different “colors” of gender and sexuality in honor of LGBT Pride Month – but Twitter was not impressed.
In a series of tweets, Budweiser’s British arm showed off a forthcoming line of rainbow cups “to celebrate the diversity within the LGBT+ community.” Each cup was said to represent a spectrum, with each color standing for an identity subgroup.
Excited to reveal we are now proud sponsors of Pride in London! We are working closely with them and our charity partners to celebrate the diversity within the LGBT+ community and Fly the Flag for everyone at the #PrideJubilee
A taste of what's to come… pic.twitter.com/g1FYlXqJJk
— Budweiser UK (@BudweiserUK) May 31, 2019
Regarding the pastel-hued transgender cup, for example, Budweiser UK explained that “blue represents male, pink female, and white is for those transitioning or who consider themselves to have a neutral or undefined gender.”
The asexual cup was purple, white, grey, and black.
“Black is for asexuals who don’t feel sexual attraction to anyone,” Budweiser said. “Grey is for grey-asexuals, who sometimes feel sexual attraction, and demi-sexuals who only feel it if they know someone well. White nods to non-asexual allies, and purple represents the whole community.”
Intersex people got the only solid-colored cup in the “Fly the Flag” campaign – yellow with a purple circle.
“The circle symbolises wholeness and completeness, while purple and yellow were chosen as they don’t have male or female associations,” the company said.
This Bud’s for you, and you, and you
Budweiser– a brand of the transnational corporation Anheuser-Busch InBev – has come a long way since its iconic “This Bud’s for You” ad campaign, which pitched a beer for hardworking Americans of all sorts.
Last week, also in honor of Pride Month, Bud Light began selling rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars across the United States. In 2016, the brand ran ads promoting transgender rights, gay marriage and equal pay.
The beer company is not alone in embracing corporate activism. Recent high-profile examples include Nike’s valorization of Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback turned police brutality crusader, and Gillette’s takedown of “toxic masculinity.”
But is Budweiser really for LGBTQ?
Some LGBT activists, including Nottingham city official Rosey Donovan, applauded Budweiser on Twitter for acknowledging the diversity of gender and sexuality.
— Rosey Donovan (@rosey_donovan) June 2, 2019
Transgender journalist said Katelyn Burns said she wants a transgender cup even despite her issues with “corporate pride.”
Me: Fuck corporate pride
Also me: OMG I want to drink from a trans flag Bud cup https://t.co/47sS6Elcfg
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) June 2, 2019
But other liberals complained the company was engaging in empty pandering. They pointed to its sponsorship of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the state persecutes homosexuals.
corporate rainbow washing kills LGBTQ+ people. pic.twitter.com/9CPpbFeCpI
— jeremy zimmer (@jeremyzimmer) June 2, 2019
Meanwhile, conservatives were ruthless. A number of users mocked the whole notion of corporate activism, which the right often dismisses as empty virtue-signaling.
We are working closely with our marketing department to see how best we can target younger drinkers and we feel this pathetic nod to the trending topic of gender fluidity, makes us current and on point.
— Michael Maa Heer (@MichaelMaaHeer) June 3, 2019
Reason contributor Cathy Young was among those who made light of the recent proliferation of genders, sexualities and other identities. She sarcastically slammed Budweiser for failing to be fully inclusive.
Disturbing lack of inclusivity. Where are the colors for those who feel sexual attraction…
* only at certain hours/on certain days
* only on holidays
* only to fictional characters
* only when drunk/stoned
* only when really pissed off https://t.co/M2Tc0nDTiQ
— Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) June 3, 2019
Quillette editor Claire Lehmann cuttingly commented on the asexual cup: “Apparently this is real.”
Apparently this is real https://t.co/qkakEQD06R
— Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) June 3, 2019