Country music star Garth Brooks addressed critics Monday after he said his bar would serve Bud Light and made other comments, and he again said he wants customers to show tolerance.
Before April, a bar serving Bud Light was so unremarkable it needed no announcement, but the brand in the blue can has been a target of a right-wing backlash since it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a social media ad.
“We’re going to serve every brand of beer. We are. We just are. It’s not our decision to make,” Brooks said at Billboard Country Live.
“Our thing is this: If you come into this house, love one another. If you’re an a--hole, there are plenty of other places on Lower Broadway to go,” he continued.
People upset with Brooks’ remarks vented online and said they would burn their merchandise.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., took exception to Brooks’ remarks, interpreting them as insulting.
Brooks addressed the controversy Monday on his livestream “Inside Studio G,” acknowledging that there had been a “quite a little bit of a stir” since the Billboard event.
“Everybody’s got their opinions. But inclusiveness is always going to be me,” Brooks said. “I think diversity is the answer to the problems that are here and the answer to the problems that are coming. So I love diversity. All inclusive, so all are welcome. I understand that might not be other people’s opinions, but that’s OK, man.”
Brooks also said that Bud Light is one of most popular beers in America, that as a bar owner he will sell it and that he would let the patrons decide whether to buy it or not.
"So, here’s the deal, man, if you want to come to Friends in Low Places, come in. But come in with love, come in with tolerance, patience. Come in with an open mind, and it’s cool," Brooks said.
"And if you’re one of those people that just can’t do that, I get it," he said. "If you ever are one of those people that want to try, come."
Mulvaney debuted her partnership with Bud Light the weekend of the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball national championships in early April, sharing a sponsored post on her Instagram account to her then-1.2 million followers.
Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, then upset some with its reaction to the anger over Mulvaney. Owners of some gay bars in Chicago vowed to boycott the company’s beer, with one saying the company had buckled to hate and vitriol.
Bud Light’s sales slumped after the backlash.
A number of states have passed laws targeting transgender issues, including one in Florida that makes it difficult or impossible for adults to get gender-affirming care.