‘How Budweiser Handled Those Who Laughed at 9/11’

Even before Donald Trump began pushing his Islamophobic lie that he saw “thousands of Muslims” cheering the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington, D.C., a chain message that originated less than a month after the incident spread a fabricated xenophobic fable about “Arabs” doing the same, involving the Budweiser beer brand.

The message, reportedly first spotted online around September 20 2001 — nine days after the attacks — is set in McFarland, California. According to the story, a Budweiser delivery driver was making a stop at a local convenience store on the day of the attacks and found “the two Arabs, who owned the business, hollering to show their approval and support of this treacherous attack.”

However, the driver was undaunted. The story continues:

The Budweiser employee went to his truck, called his boss and told him of the very upsetting event! He didn’t feel he could be in that store with those horrible people. His boss asked him, ‘Do you think you could go in there long enough to pull every Budweiser product and item our beverage company sells there? We’ll never deliver to them again.’

The employee walked in, proceeded to pull every single product his beverage company provided and left with an incredible grin on his face. He told them never to bother to call for a delivery again. Budweiser happens to be the beer of choice for that community.

As the story evolved into copypasta online, an iteration spotted around 2007 added an epilogue:

It seems that the Bud driver and the Pepsi man are neighbors. Bud called Pepsi and told him. Pepsi called his boss who told him to pull all Pepsi products as well!!!
That would include Frito Lay, etc.
Furthermore, word spread and all vendors followed suit! At last report, on June 26, 2009,
Fareed Katib closed the store and filed bankruptcy!

Needless to say, like a lot of online stories that promise, “This is TRUE,” this story is not true.

“Please know that we have investigated the matter and have found there is no truth to this story,” said Dennis Muleady, marketing director for Budweiser at the time for the area including McFarland, a small community near Bakersfield. “We’ve checked extensively on this story in a number of different locations, with wholesalers and retail accounts and there is no report of a customer reacting in such a manner. Therefore, no product has been pulled from any retail account.”

Regardless, the story lives on, thanks to social media.

The beer brand would be the subject of another false claim in 2017, when right-wing social media users insisted that it had stopped advertising during National Football League games to retailate against player protests against extrajudicial killings by police. That was false.

Six years later, however, right-wing disinformation purveyors users fanned the flames of a targeted harassment campaign involving another Anheuser-Busch brand, Bud Light, and its spokesperson Dylan Mulvaney, specifically because she is a trans woman. That is true.

Update 9/22/2023, 12:59 a.m. PST: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here. — ag