(WTVO) — Bud Light can’t win after a firestorm of controversy over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, as working-class customers and LGBTQ activists both turn their back on the brand.

Last month, the beer company sent cans of Bud Light featuring Mulvaney’s face to the influencer to celebrate a full year of “girlhood.” Mulvaney posted photos posing with the cans to Instagram with the hashtag #budlightpartner.

Three days after Mulvaney’s post, Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light. Shares of InBev, the parent company of Anheuser-Busch, temporarily plunged.

The Bud Light-Mulvaney partnership quickly brought an onslaught of criticism from people who said they were angry about the company going “woke.”

Within weeks, two marketing executives at Anheuser-Busch took a leave of absence, including vice president of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, and her boss, Daniel Blake.

“I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light. And it was, this brand is in decline. It’s been in decline for a very long time. And if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,” Heinerscheid said on Apple’s “Make Yourself at Home” podcast.

Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris this week downplayed the impact of the backlash, saying, “This was one can, one influencer, one post, and not a campaign.”

On Thursday, Doukeris said Bud Light volume declined in the U.S. for the first three weeks of April, representing just 1% of overall global sales volume.

The company then launched a patriotic ad campaign, which could be seen as a pinned tweet on its Twitter account.

But the fallout continues.

A Budweiser distributor in Missouri canceled events featuring the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, citing safety concerns.

A TikTok video posted on Wednesday shows Boston Red Sox fans at Fenway Park standing in line for refreshments at other concession stands while the Bud Light stand is deserted.

While working-class beer drinkers shun Bud Light for its perceived alignment with gender politics, it alienated left-wing activists who are angered that the company did not stand behind its transgender advocacy.

WGN reported that some Chicago bars announced Friday that they will not be stocking Bud Light because the company has not reaffirmed its support for the LGBTQ community in light of the controversy.

Bud Light’s partnership with Mulvaney is part of a recent trend of popular brands promoting transgender personalities in traditional women’s roles. According to CNN, companies like PanteneGilletteCiti, and Adidas have made headlines for hiring transgender spokespersons.

In March, chocolate company Hershey chose to market an image of a trans woman in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Critics say the brands are promoting a caricatured version of femininity.

Olympic medalist Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman, condemned Nike for partnering with Mulvaney to promote a line of sports bras, saying the brand was trying to “erase women” from sports. Other female sports stars have expressed similar concerns.

The companies have responded to the backlash by scolding critics, with Nike saying the response was not “in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community.”

Marketing experts say it’s possible Bud Light’s experience will cause other brands to rethink using transgender people in their advertising. Joanna Schwartz, a professor at Georgia College and State University who teaches a course on LGBTQ+ marketing, said companies will still want to reach transgender consumers and their supporters, but might shift to social media and more targeted ads.

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, 21% of people in Generation Z identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, compared to 3% of Baby Boomers. Gallup has also found that younger consumers are the most likely to want brands to promote diversity and take a stand on social issues.

Bud Light has long been America’s best-selling beer. But its U.S. sales are down 2% so far this year, part of a long-running decline as younger consumers flock to sparking seltzers and other drinks, according to Bump Williams Consulting. Those sales declines accelerated rapidly in April. The week ending April 15, Bud Light’s sales dropped 17% compared to the same week a year ago. Meanwhile, rivals Miller Lite and Coors Lite both saw their sales jump more than 17%.

“The communication from Bud Light is not clear. Is this coming from your value set or are these things just trending?” Manveer Mann, an associate professor of marketing at the Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University, said. “You have to know what your values are and what are the values of the customers you are trying to reach.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.