Another day, another sordid entry into the legacy of the Anheuser-Busch children. In a family famous for debauchery, the occasional suspicious death, and yes … making some beer brands that they eventually sold to a Belgian-Brazilian consortium in the form of InBev, you’re not often surprised by the content of a headline. Still, “Billy Bush attacks an 11-year-old in public” isn’t the kind of thing you’re expecting to read on any given day, either.
That’s what allegedly happened back in November, as detailed in a story in St. Louis’ Riverfront Times. The incident happened at a basketball practice at Chaminade College Preparatory School in Creve Coeur, MO, a school attended by Busch’s son. After seeing said son tussling with another boy during practice, William K. Busch reportedly rushed the basketball court, where the 58-year-old confronted the offending 11-year-old, dragged him around and pushed him against a wall, bloodying the kid’s nose in the process. Coaches and other parents then intervened, and Busch was kicked out of the gym.
Now, several months later, assault charges have been brought against Busch, the great grandson of company founder Adolphus Busch. According to the Riverfront Times, the family of the boy was initially hesitant to bring charges against Busch, citing “little faith in the justice system,” which they could hardly be blamed for when it comes to stories involving Busch children in the St. Louis area. However, the family agreed to give statements, and eventually gave police to go-ahead to charge Busch after the school provided surveillance footage of the practice that supported their claims. According to the police report:
“Busch is seen grabbing [the boy] once more and forcing him backwards out of the gymnasium into the lobby,” the report says. “At this point, [the boy] appears to take a swing at Busch in an effort to get away. Busch is seen pushing [the boy] backwards and pinning him against a wall.”
This brush with the law is nothing new to Billy Busch, the son of August Anheuser Gussie Busch Jr. and uncle to the final Anheuser-Busch president August Busch IV, who has plenty of outlandish legal problems of his own. Most famously, Billy Busch once bit off another man’s earlobe during a 1981 bar fight that reportedly began after he was accused of cheating during an arm-wrestling bout. He wasn’t charged for that bit of violence after authorities sided with Busch, saying the other man had instigated the fight. Nor was Busch found guilty of assault in 1982, when he was accused of punching a drive-thru worker in the throat—according to the Riverfront Times, “a judge found that prosecutors hadn’t proved the worker was injured.”
Since 2011, meanwhile, Busch has attempted to return to the beer industry via Kräftig, an all-malt lager beer brand sold throughout the Midwest. Banking on the family name, Busch has tried to offer a product similar to the classic Budwesier that is still owned by someone bearing the Busch name, but the market has mostly responded with a series of collective shrugs.
After the Riverfront Times story went live, several statements from both sides of the assault case were released. First, William K. Busch’s attorney offered the following statement, which paints Busch as a fatherly peacekeeper:
“Mr. Busch was unfortunately confronted last November with a situation where his son was bullied — actually sucker-punched — by a much larger middle school student directly in front of him during a school basketball practice. School personnel failed to react, so he did what every parent would have done in that situation. The school’s video of the event clearly shows that Mr. Busch did not act with any maliciousness, and that his actions were directed at protecting the safety of his son and others involved.”
Then we got a response from the family that leveled the charges—which, if you’re curious, claims Busch said the following as he waded into the fight: “You fucker! What do you fucking think you’re fucking doing to my fucking kid?” From their attorney:
While we initially did not want to comment on the situation and keep a low profile, Mr. Busch’s statement, written by his lawyer, Mr. Rosenblum, requires a response. While the statement is eloquently written, we are well aware that Mr. Rosenblum is paid to defend Mr. Busch and attempt to repair his public image using tired legal maneuvers. However, the statement is inaccurate for several reasons.
First, the statement attempts to paint a grown man with a history of erratic behavior (such as biting a man’s ear off) who physically assaulted an 11 year old boy as a sympathetic figure.
Second, it attempts to paint the victim as a bully when it was Mr. Busch’s son who was the initial aggressor in the incident between the two boys. It just so happens in this instance, Mr. Busch’s son instigated an altercation with another middle schooler of his same age and grade level who defended himself. While Mr. Busch may not have liked seeing his son receive a dose of his own medicine, him attempting to resolve his son’s conflict with another 11 year old boy, let alone physically, is shameful. When the victim’s father pulled Mr. Busch off his son and confronted him, Mr. Busch’s behavior changed dramatically and he was clearly more comfortable addressing an 11 year old boy than another grown man.
Third, it suggests the school failed to react. In fact, the school administration and basketball program acted swiftly and decisively in calming the situation, investigating what happened and removing Mr. Busch and his son from the facility. The school’s response could not have been better.
In summary, Mr. Busch’s behavior was highly inappropriate. For Mr. Rosenblum to excuse Mr. Busch’s behavior as without malice and as something any father would do is ridiculous. The actions and language used by Mr. Busch during the incident and as documented on the school’s video clearly and incontrovertibly show otherwise. The fact is a grown man manhandled a child in response to an altercation his son initiated but could not finish. We have no ill will toward Mr. Busch’s son and wish him the best. We do not intend to sue Mr. Busch in civil court for his actions. However, we plan to cooperate with and monitor the indefensible prosecution of Mr. Busch by the people of Creve Coeur and St. Louis.