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Kevin O'Leary Slams Anheuser-Busch CEO's Listening Tour, Says It Won't Stop Bud Light Backlash for One Huge Reason Anheuser-Busch U.S. CEO Brendan Whitworth announced plans to hear consumers out this summer.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • CEO Whitworth's listening tour follows intense criticism of Bud Light's partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.
  • O'Leary says a tour will just keep the controversy in the press — and the CEO can expect "an earful."
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Anheuser-Busch U.S. CEO Brendan Whitworth plans to embark on a listening tour this summer amid criticism for Bud Light's collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, per Axios.

But Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary says that Whitworth's trek won't be enough to revitalize the brand — and he plans to teach the "unprecedented" case to college students, Fox Business reported.

Related: Bud Light Maker Anheuser-Busch Laying Off Hundreds of Workers

"I don't think [the listening tour is] going to work," O'Leary told the outlet. "He is going to get an earful. There's no question about it."

One of the biggest issues with Whitworth's listening circuit? The tour will keep the Bud Light controversy a frontline press item, O'Leary warned — so the backlash won't die down.

From April to June, Bud Light sales were approximately 25% lower year over year in every single week, CNN Business reported. O'Leary says the brand's fall is "so extraordinary" that he intends to teach it when he guest lectures at colleges this fall.

Although Bud Light lost its title as the U.S.'s best-selling beer to Modelo in May, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris revealed on a recent earnings call that angry customers boycotting the brand haven't meaningfully impacted the company's global sales.

Related: Bud Light Dons 'Star of Death' at Costco After Mulvaney Backlash

Anheuser-Busch InBev is up more than 10% year over year.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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