DeSantis Calls For Legal Action Against Bud Light

Written by on July 23, 2023

DeSantis Calls For Legal Action Against Bud Light

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging the state’s pension fund manager to consider legal action against Bud Light’s parent company amid conservative backlash to the beermaker’s recent marketing efforts, the latest attempt by the Republican presidential candidate to inject himself and the state he runs into the country’s culture wars.

In a letter obtained by CNN, DeSantis suggests AB InBev “Breached legal duties owed to its shareholders” when it decided to associate with “Radical social ideologies.” Sales of Bud Light have plummeted in the months since it entered into a minor partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that precipitated a boycott from conservatives.


“All options are on the table,” DeSantis wrote, as the state reviews the impact of AB InBev’s recent financial downturn, though it’s unclear what legal recourse the state might have to challenge a multinational corporation’s business decisions.

“We must prudently manage the funds of Florida’s hardworking law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, and first responders in a manner that focuses on growing returns, not subsidizing an ideological agenda through woke virtue signaling,” DeSantis wrote in the letter to Lamar Taylor, the interim director of the State Board of Administration, the state agency that manages Florida’s retirement funds for public workers.

DeSantis oversees the board as a trustee along with the state’s attorney general and chief financial officer, both also Republicans.


Speaking to Fox News about the letter, DeSantis said the state may consider a “Derivative lawsuit” against AB InBev.

This is not the first time DeSantis has threatened to use Florida’s $235 billion in pension investments as a cudgel in his political fights with corporate America.

Previously, DeSantis pushed the state pension board to adopt new rules that banned its investors from considering the environmental and social good of a company or fund when deciding where to put Florida’s retirement assets, pushing back against the so-called ESG movement.

DeSantis’ latest salvo against what he calls “Woke capitalism” also follows his high-profile clashes with another corporate titan, the Walt Disney Company, over the company’s objections to a state law that restricts how schools teach about sexual orientation and gender identity.

DeSantis and Disney are currently engaged in two separate lawsuits over the Republican’s move to strip the theme park giant of its longstanding special government powers in Central Florida.

Asked by Fox’s Jesse Watters if DeSantis would consider similar action against Disney, DeSantis said, “I don’t know that we’d be the right one to do it.” Florida’s pension fund held $234 million in Disney stock as of March 31.

Unlike his war with Disney, conservative outrage against AB InBev came well before DeSantis decided to take action against the Belgium beermaker.

DeSantis’ actions signaled Republicans are not done using the company as a punching bag as they seek to gain favor with the party’s base.

The move against Bud Light also served as another reminder that DeSantis as a sitting governor can use the power of the state to weigh in on the issues animating Republican voters, an advantage he holds over a 2024 primary field that includes many people not currently in office, including his top rival, former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis, for example, told Johnson he and his wife prefer another beer: “We actually like the stout, Guinness.” Yet, a decade ago, the Irish beer brand became a target of conservative ire when it pulled its sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day over the exclusion of LGBTQ groups.

[Source: CNN]

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