First, it was Hershey’s, then it was Bud Light, and now Jack Daniel’s is the latest brand to face a boycott this year because people say the company has “gone woke.”
Even though the “small town, big pride” campaign has been going on for almost two years and features drag queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, social media users have taken offense to it.
The fight over LGBTQ+ brand ambassadors is a sign of a bigger argument about drag shows and how children can be exposed to them. Concerns have been raised about Drag Queen Story Hour, in which drag performers read to children at libraries.
Tennessee, where Jack Daniel is from, was the first state to ban drag shows in front of kids because of their s*xualized content. A federal judge has since put a hold on the law for now.
In June 2021, Jack Daniels announced that it had worked with three drag queens from a popular TV show to make a series of videos called Drag Queen Summer Glamp. These videos came out during pride month. It has the participants doing tasks around the company’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
At the time, the whiskey makers said it was “a bold new experience for both the queens and their hosts.” Lauren Richmond, then-brand manager for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, said the campaign “reaffirms our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” even though it was an “unexpected partnership.”
Trinity the Tuck, one of the drag queens involved in the campaign, said in a statement –
“Jack Daniel’s gets drag culture—which is all about celebrating individuality and inviting others to accept you as you are.”
Manila Luzon, another participant said –
“This is how Pride should be celebrated: with friends—new and old—in a place you would never expect.”
Since then, the episodes and other marketing materials have been posted on the company’s website, which says, “Jack Fire and Pride go together like cinnamon and whiskey.”
Even though the campaign has been known about for 22 months, Jack Daniel’s support for the LGBTQ+ community is being looked at more closely now that transgender rights and freedoms are a major point of contention in the culture wars.
Benny Johnson, a political columnist and official with the non-profit Turning Point U.S.A., wrote on April 5 that Jack Daniel’s had “gone full woke.” He added –
“This is a *good* business move since Jack Daniels is only ordered by the mentally ill already.”
Travis Tritt, a country singer-songwriter, tweeted that people who drink the whiskey “should take note” and included one of the campaign’s promotional images.
One user wrote –
“Are you freaking kidding me!?”
“Time to leave their products on the store shelves.”
Another said –
“Jack Daniels you just lost a loyal drinker, never again.”
Some users said that the “anti-cancel culture crew” had “ignored” the campaign for almost two years, while another told the boycotters, “You’re going to learn that gἀy and trans person like alcohol too, and they have a lot more money.”
When asked for a comment, a Jack Daniel’s representative told that the company’s products were “made with everyone in mind, including the LGBTQ+ community. As a longtime champion of the LGBTQ+ community, Jack Daniel’s celebrates individuality and living life boldly on your own terms.”
Transgender rights in the U.S. are still a very controversial topic, even after the recent bans on drag shows. A Pew Research Center survey from 2022 found that 38 percent of Americans think society has gone “too far” in accepting transgender people, while 36 percent say it hasn’t gone “far enough.”
People are calling for a boycott of Jack Daniel’s because the company worked with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. This made people angry on social media. Bud Light’s parent company told Newsweek that the move was part of an effort to “authentically connect with audiences across various demographics.”
Hershey’s had a similar reaction to an ad campaign in February after putting the face of a transgender rights activist on special International Women’s Day chocolate bar wrappers in Canada.
People who didn’t like the idea called it a “slap in the face” to “actual” women, while people who liked it hoped it would inspire young people. If you want to know about the latest happenings in the world, you should follow us on Twitter and read our most recent blogs.