From Dylan Mulvaney Tanking Bud Light To The Downfall Of Disney: The Biggest Cultural Shifts Of 2023

From Dylan Mulvaney Tanking Bud Light To The Downfall Of Disney: The Biggest Cultural Shifts Of 2023

2023 is finally coming to a close. Another year, another host of cultural moments and phenomena. Some represented not much more than a passing fad, while others could herald a paradigm shift in American society and politics.

For the last couple of decades, the vast majority of these groundbreaking moments have moved the cultural zeitgeist further to the Left, but this year it seems that conservatives finally racked up more wins than losses. From a massive backlash against woke ideology in the entertainment industry to Democrats in sanctuary cities turning on President Joe Biden over illegal immigration to the most successful conservative boycott in history, conservatives scored several important culture war victories in 2023.

Bud Light and the Rise of Conservative Boycotts

One of the most enduring, and potentially influential, shifts of 2023 has been the boycott against Bud Light after the iconic brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney back in April.

In March 2023, Bud Light had been the number 1 beer in the United States for over 20 years, dominating other well-known brands like Miller and Coors. By the end of the year, the once-iconic brand’s reputation was in tatters among conservatives and Anheuser-Busch continues to reel from poor sales in the U.S.

It began when Mulvaney, infamous for a series of videos chronicling his transition called “Days of Girlhood,” showed off a can of the light beer with his face on it on April 1. A few days later, Bud Light confirmed that it had indeed signed a brand partnership deal with Mulvaney in an effort to “authentically connect with audiences.”

Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images; Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the first week of the controversy, Bud Light sales decreased 11%, and its stock plunged 20% by the beginning of June, losing Anheuser-Busch billions in market value. Also in June, Bud Light lost its place as the best-selling beer in America. Anheuser-Busch’s overall U.S. revenue was down 10.5% in the 2nd quarter of 2023 (April-June) compared to the same period in 2022, and the company’s sales to U.S. retailers fell 14% by early August. The company lost nearly $400 million in revenue during the 2nd quarter alone.

The 3rd quarter (July-September) of this year was even worse for the company, which reported a 13.5% drop in revenue per 100 liters, according to CNN, while sales to American retailers decreased 17% in the same period. Numbers for the 4th quarter won’t be released until early next year, but it’s unlikely that they’ll deliver good news for the embattled brand.

Perhaps most importantly, the Bud Light boycott inspired similar efforts to hold corporations accountable for their political messaging.

Retail giant Target drew conservatives’ ire after it unveiled a Pride Month collection that included LGBT-themed clothes and swimwear for kids. After a boycott campaign similar to the one levied against Bud Light, Target’s 2nd quarter sales for 2023 sank 5.4% compared to the previous year — its first quarterly sales decline in six years — and the company lost billions in market value as its stock plunged. Target’s earnings continued to lag into the 3rd quarter — 4.2% lower than the same period last year, according to the company’s earnings report.

SPRINGFIELD, VA - AUGUST 14: Customers leave Target August 14, 2003 in Springfield, Virgina. Target Corp. reported a four percent increase in second-quarter profits. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Conservatives have learned they can exert considerable economic pressure on corporations that stray too far into political activism, and heading into 2024 companies may think twice before pushing politics alongside their products.

The Downfall of Disney

The Walt Disney Company is another corporation paying the toll for trying to indoctrinate audiences in leftist talking points.

Its animated film “Wish,” intended as a nostalgic celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, instead became the capstone to a year of box office disappointment. After a disastrous Thanksgiving opening weekend, the movie only ended up making $147 million against a roughly $200 million budget (a film generally needs to make 2.5x its budget to be considered profitable).

The company’s other animated film for the year, Pixar’s “Elemental,” fared little better with an anemic opening weekend, though it managed to barely break even months later.

The live action movies “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “Haunted Mansion,” “The Marvels,” and the remake of “The Little Mermaid” cost over a billion dollars to make (that doesn’t include post-production and advertising costs), and all of them flopped hard.

Both the Ant-Man and Indiana Jones sequels were torched by fans for seemingly trying to replace their titular heroes with younger female counterparts. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” Ant-Man’s daughter has become a teenage activist fighting against oppression and eventually acquires a super-powered suit similar to her father’s. In the latest Indiana Jones movie, Indy’s goddaughter Helena is also an archeologist on the hunt for rare artifacts and when she is accused of stealing items from native people, she quips, “It’s called capitalism.”

The company has practically become the industry leader in pushing leftist propaganda on kids. GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, announced in October that Disney is one the top companies in Hollywood for LGBT-inclusive content. Top-ranking employees within the company have admitted that they are pushing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” with their programming.

Now, the backlash is starting to affect movies still in production.

The company’s live action remake of “Snow White” also made headlines for the wrong reasons after star Rachel Zegler made disparaging comments about the 1937 classic and it was revealed the iconic seven dwarfs had been reimagined as “seven magical creatures” who didn’t resemble the original characters at all.

After intense criticism of both incidents, Disney backtracked on the dwarfs design and even pushed back the release date of the movie to 2025.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Andrew Ross Sorkin and Robert Iger speak onstage during The New York Times Dealbook Summit 2023 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 29, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times)

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times

The most remarkable aspect of Disney’s struggle at the box office is that almost every flop came from a genre or franchise that has historically been a safe financial bet, suggesting that Disney is in serious trouble.

Before the pandemic, Disney enjoyed reliable success with its animated projects, including massive hits like “Frozen 2,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” and “The Incredibles 2.” Every previous “Indiana Jones” movie was a blockbuster hit, while the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a veritable cash cow for years.

Disney has been a titan of the entertainment industry for decades, but its recent string of flops as well as robust competition from other studios could cause a massive shakeup in American pop culture.

Democrats Begin to Turn on Biden Over Immigration

The crisis on the southern border is nothing new. It’s been escalating for decades, but has certainly accelerated under the current president.

November alone saw nearly a quarter of a million encounters on the southern border, the highest November on record. Customs and Border Protection reported 270,000 encounters in September, the highest number of monthly encounters ever reported. There have been over 7 million encounters on the southern border since Fiscal Year 2021, and the number of “gotaways” totals at least 1.4 million since Biden took office.

Polling for Biden on the issue of illegal immigration has been negative for quite some time, but has reached a dismal 62% disapproval rating, according to a poll released by Fox News back in June. Republicans have hammered Biden and Democrats for years over the border crisis, but now some Democrats are beginning to join the chorus.

The new backlash from Democrats largely stems from the efforts of some Republican governors, notably Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, to transport illegal immigrants by bus or plane to sanctuary cities farther from the southern border.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been the most vocal about the ongoing illegal immigration crisis and its effects on his city.

UNITED STATES -October 10: Mayor Eric Adams flanked by City Commissioner is pictured during his week off topic press conference at City Hall Blue Room, Tuesday October 10, 2023. During the press conference the mayor discussed his recent trip to South America to see with his own eyes the flow of migrants in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico and meet with listed countries officials.

Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News via Getty Images

During a town hall meeting in September, he said, “I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City. We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month.”

“It’s gonna come to your neighborhoods. All of us are going to be impacted by this,” added. “I said it last year when we had 15,000. I’m telling you now with 110,000. The city we knew, we’re about to lose.”

During a press conference in October, Adams warned that the number of immigrants flooding into major cities is “not sustainable” and pointed out that mayors across the country were also struggling to deal with the issue.

“These mayors, my colleagues across America, are doing the best they can, but it’s clear that all of these cities are overwhelmed,” he said.

And the usually ultra-liberal citizens of New York City are largely in agreement with their mayor that the crisis is a major threat to the city. A Quinnipiac poll from early December found that 85% of NYC voters are concerned that the city won’t be able to handle the illegal immigrant surge, while 65% agree with Adams’ sentiment that the crisis will “destroy” the Big Apple.


Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass have both criticized Republicans transporting illegal immigrants to major cities, with Johnson calling it “reckless” and Bass saying she’s “fearful that any day planes could start coming” to her city.

In late October, Adams, Bass, Johnson, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston sent a letter to Biden demanding more aid to deal with illegal immigrants in their cities as well as a meeting with the president to discuss potential solutions.

The pressure being put on Biden by these mayors could be the first step to more assertive demands to help alleviate the crisis, especially as the professed unlimited generosity of sanctuary cities begins to rub against the cold reality of city budget limitations.

The major cultural shifts of 2023 have generally benefitted conservatives, but the long-term consequences of those shifts are dependent on conservatives’ resolve to follow through on them. It’s been said that politics is downstream from culture, and if that’s true, the cultural shifts of 2023 may bear political fruit for conservatives in the coming years.

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[By: Hayden Daniel

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