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Ted Cruz wants to investigate Bud Light for working with Dylan Mulvaney: ‘Melting down over a trans woman’

A pair of Senate Republicans want the federal government to investigate a beer commercial with a transgender woman.

Ted Cruz of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee are calling for congressional oversight and an investigation into Bud Light’s marketing strategy with trans social media personality Dylan Mulvaney, escalating a weeks-long, transphobic right-wing obsession with an Instagram video featuring the actress and cans of beer.

In their letter from the Senate’s commerce committee that repeatedly misgenders Ms Mulvaney, the senators urged Anheuser Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth to “sever its relationship” with Ms Mulvaney, “publicly apologize”, and force her to delete “any Anheuser-Busch content” on her social media platforms, or submit to an investigation from a trade association.

The senators added that the beer company’s “clear failure to exercise appropriate due diligence when selecting online influencers” – which in this case merely included Ms Mulvaney receiving a can with her face on it while promoting a basketball tournament – “warrants detailed oversight by Congress.”

The letter demands that Anheuser Busch send “all documents and communications” between the company and Ms Mulvaney, among a host of other documents, “so that Congress can exercise its oversight authority.”

The senators alleged that the company relied on Ms Mulvaney to specifically target people who are too young to drink, by arguing that Ms Mulvaney – who is 26 years old – calls herself a girl and uses social media platforms with young people on them.

Nearly two months into “melting down over a trans woman being sent a can of beer with her face on it: Senator Ted Cruz demands an investigation,” said Ari Drennan with media watchdog Media Matters.

The letter follows more than a month of right-wing outrage over a 45-second Instagram clip, with Republican officials and right-wing personalities filming themselves dumping out beers, shooting bottles and cans, and pledging to boycott Budweiser products because a trans person was featured in marketing.

Anti-trans legislation and rhetoric have consumed right-wing media, state capitols across the country, and, increasingly, members of Congress, where lawmakers in Washington DC are mulling national bills and leaning into rhetoric that is dominating state legislative debate.

Hundreds of bills aimed at LGBT+ people, particularly young trans people, have been filed in nearly every state within the last several years, part of a growing campaign among Republican lawmakers wielding anti-trans attacks for political agendas that dominate GOP platforms heading into 2024.

More than a dozen states have enacted laws or policies banning gender-transitioning healthcare for young trans people, and several others have considered taking similar measures against what advocates and major medical groups have called medically necessary and potentially life-saving care.

That legislation threatens care for more than half of all trans youth in the US between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The onslaught of legislation and volatile political debate surrounding the bills have also negatively impacted the mental health of an overwhelming majority of young trans and nonbinary people, according to polling from The Trevor Project and Morning Consult. A separate survey from The Trevor Project found that 41 per cent of trans and nonbinary youth have seriously considered attempting suicide over the last year.