Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering legal action against Bud Light’s parent company over its woke marketing campaign.
The 2024 Republican presidential-primary contender said in a letter to state legal officials Thursday and an appearance on Fox News Channel that AB InBev’s Dylan Mulvaney campaign may have “breached legal duties owed to its shareholders” by aligning the brand with “radical social ideologies.”
“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,” Mr. DeSantis wrote in a letter to Lamar Taylor, the interim director of the State Board of Administration.
“All options are on the table,” Mr. DeSantis wrote.
The board manages the state’s public-worker retirement funds and is overseen by Mr. DeSantis as a trustee along with the state’s attorney general and chief financial officer.
The letter was first reported by CNN and Mr. DeSantis effectively confirmed the report in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
Since Bud Light partnered with the transgender social-media influencer and a backlash ensued, sales have dropped by about 25% and the brand lost its decades-held status as America’s top-selling beer. AB InBev also has lost $27 billion in market-cap value.
“We believe that when you take your eye off the ball like that, you are not following your fiduciary duty to do the best you can for your shareholders,” Mr. DeSantis said Thursday evening on the Fox News show.
“So we are going to be launching an inquiry about Bud Light and InBev, and it could be something that leads to a derivative lawsuit filed on behalf of the shareholders of the Florida pension fund,” he continued.
Derivative lawsuits can be filed against a corporation’s directors or officers accusing them of not acting in shareholders’ interests as publicly-held companies hire them to do.
According to CNN, Florida’s pension fund held almost 700,000 shares of AB InBev.
“At the end of the day, there have to be penalties for when you put business aside to focus on your social agenda at the expense of hardworking people,” Mr. DeSantis concluded.