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Conservatives push wild conspiracy that Bud Light is being run by the CIA in secret ‘woke’ warfare

Anheuser-Busch’s CEO has not tried to hide his past employment with the CIA

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 19 April 2023 11:38 BST
Related video: Whoopi Goldberg and The View co-hosts slam Anheuser-Busch

Some conservatives upset with Anheuser-Busch over a minor ad campaign featuring a trans influencer now believe that the company's CEO was put in charge of the company in order to make the company "woke."

The company's CEO, Brendan Whitworth, has become the target of a conservative conspiracy theory that his prior employment is influencing the brand's current direction.

Mr Whitworth joined Anheuser-Busch in 2013 and became CEO in 2021.

When conservative commentators found that his LinkedIn page listed the Central Intelligence Agency as one of his past employers, they worked up a theory that he is part of a wide-ranging psyop intended to launder "woke" ideas to the masses.

Benny Johnson, a 35-year-old man who runs a conservative meme show on conservative social media site Parler, is one of the most notable commentators to spread the theory.

“Hey guys, I think I found the problem,” he wrote on Twitter. “The CEO of Budweiser is a CIA operative. No, really.”

That sentiment was echoed by another notable Twitter user going by the name DC_Draino. He suggest that Mr Whitworth — despite being a Republican — was ordered by someone to push the "regime's Leftist agenda."

“Bud Light’s Woke marketing makes a lot more sense when you realize their CEO was in the CIA,” he wrote. “He’ll never apologize for what AB did b/c he’s a foot soldier for the regime’s Leftist agenda.”

Mr Whitworth joined the Marines in 1998 and served for three years before he joined the CIA in 2001, where he worked as a recruiter. He then attended Harvard Business School before joining AB.

Cans of Bud Light beer are seen, Thursday Jan. 10, 2019, in Washington. On Friday, April 7, 2023 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

If the CIA — an agency whose entire mission involves clandestine work — was trying to influence the culture through beer ads, it did not hide its involvement well, since Mr Whitworth is not shy about sharing his former employment with the organisation.

That has not stopped some conservatives from believing the theory.

“I just learned that the current CEO of Anheuser-Busch is actually former CIA. Boy, does that explain A LOT,” another user wrote. “We all know how involved the Clowns In America are in pushing Communist/Marxist agendas all over the world. Playbook known.”

Mr Whitworth put out a statement following the apoplectic boycott some conservatives launched against Budweiser beers in the wake of an ad campaign featuring trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. He assured readers the company did not intend to wade into a culture war, which some progressives took as him walking back the company's support of Ms Mulvaney.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” he wrote. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

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