(The Hill) — TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney broke her weeks-long silence on social media on Thursday, following the right-wing backlash over her recent partnership with Bud Light.
“I’ve been offline for a few weeks, and a lot has been said about me,” Mulvaney, a transgender woman, said in a video posted to Instagram and TikTok. “It was so loud that I didn’t even feel part of the conversation. So, I decided to take the back seat and let them tucker themselves out.”
“But then I remembered that nearly 13 million people at some point enjoyed me enough to hit the follow button on these apps. And I was like wait, wait, wait, I want to talk to those people,” she added.
Mulvaney was silent on social media for nearly three weeks after a sponsored Instagram post promoting Bud Light’s March Madness contest last month drew the ire of conservative critics, who called for protests against Bud Light and its parent company Anheuser-Busch.
The influencer, who has shared her transition journey with followers online, said on Thursday that she’s “doing OK” in the wake of the backlash.
“What I’m struggling with most is that I grew up in a conservative family, and I’m extremely privileged because they still love me very much,” Mulvaney said. “And I grew up in the church, and I still have my faith, which I am really trying to hold onto right now.”
“But I’ve always tried to love everyone — even the people that make it really, really hard,” she continued. “And I think it’s OK to be frustrated with someone or confused. But what I’m struggling to understand is the need to dehumanize and to be cruel.”
Mulvaney thanked those who “choose to see my humanity” even if they don’t “fully understand or relate” to her experience.
“I’m just gonna go ahead and trust that the people who know me and my heart won’t listen to that noise,” she added. “What I’m interested in is getting back to making people laugh.”
While Mulvaney had previously remained silent on social media, she told “iHeartPodcasts’ Onward With Rosie O’ Donnell” earlier this month that she was an “easy target” for conservatives.
“The reason I think I’m an easy target is because I’m still new to this,” she said. “I think going after a trans woman who has been doing this for 20 years is a lot more difficult.”